Why Ministers Quit

Good blog post by Trey Morgan. Here’s the basic gist (some choice snippets, not a full quote)…

It happened again this past week. Another minister has left the ministry. When I asked him why, his explanation was simply, “I’m just burned out.”

Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said, “the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are the president of the United States, a university president, a CEO of a hospital and … a pastor/minister.”

Latest statistics from the book, “Pastors At Greater Risk” by H.B London Jr. and Neil Wiseman,” say that ministers don’t make it to retirement because they are either burned out, fired, have a moral breakdown or just quit. Here are some of the statistics…

  • 80 percent of ministers say they have insufficient time with their spouse and that ministry has a negative effect on their family.
  • 40 percent report a serious conflict with a parishioner once a month.
  • 33 percent say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
  • 75 percent report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
  • 58 percent of ministers indicate that their spouse needs to work either part time or full time to supplement the family income.
  • 45 percent of ministers’ wives say the greatest danger to them and family is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual burnout.
  • 21 percent of ministers’ wives want more privacy.
  • Ministers who work fewer than 50 hours a week are 35 percent more likely to be terminated.
  • 40 percent of ministers have considered leaving the ministry in the past three months.

Chun says, “Church members expect their minister to be on call seven days a week; few churches give their minister two full days off. They work on holidays — Christmas Eve, Easter and Thanksgiving — and never have a three-day weekend. People expect them to have perfect marriages and kids and drive cars and live in homes that are acceptable.”

Interesting stuff. Trey’s blog post has a couple good links (“Top 10 Ways to Get Your Preacher to Quit” and “Top 10 Ways to Encourage Your Preacher”) on ways for churches to prevent this. I also see it as a way (for even leaders to help) to educate churches about care for staff and their own congregants.


2 Responses

  1. I agree completely. Being a P.K. myself, I always felt an unspoken pressure to be “perfect”. No one ever said anything to me, but I always felt like I was being judged and that judgment would be passed on to my dad. People don’t realize the pressure that they put on preachers and their families. Again, they don’t do it on purpose, but that still doesn’t make up for the fact that it’s still there. People need to understand that preachers are humans too, and like everyone else, need some space for themselves and for their families.

  2. Seriously. I’m hoping (Maybe praying? Can I do that in this case?) for a benefactor who will fund a date night once a month between my wife and me, dinner, movies, whatever, AND the baby sitting.

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