10 Real Reasons Pastors Quit Too Soon

(Tim Peters is the author of this piece.)

Over 1,700 pastors leave the ministry every month. This staggering number includes some of the brightest, most inspiring pastors in the country. To prevent the continued flight of our pastors, we need to understand the cause of the problem. Though every situation is unique, the reasons pastors leave are often similar. Here are 10 common reasons pastors quit too soon.

1. Discouragement

50% of pastors report feeling sodiscouraged they would leave the ministry if they could. Complaints speak louder than compliments. You can receive 15 compliments and one complaint, and the complaint will stick. When you hear criticism and look out to see empty pews, it can be difficult to recognize the positive impact you’re making. The key is to remember: no matter how much negative you hear, you’re always doing 10 times more good.

2. Failure

70% of pastors say they have a lower self-image now than when they started. Many pastors have difficulty recognizing success. They compare themselves to other pastors and other ministries. Comparisons produce only two outcomes: (1) you think you’re better, which results in excessive pride; or (2) you feel like you don’t measure up, which creates a sense of failure. The key is not to compare, but to celebrate your successes.

3. Loneliness

70% of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend.With so many people looking to pastors for guidance, it can be difficult for pastors to let their guards down. They don’t want to come across as less than perfect. They feel they can’t be transparent and vulnerable. That creates a sense of isolation. It’s important for pastors to find people they can open up and share their struggles with, instead of absorbing and isolating.

4. Moral Failure

33% of pastors confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior.The moral failures of pastors are magnified more than the average person. The key to avoiding moral failures is creating a system of risk prevention. When you meet with someone of the opposite sex: let your spouse know, never meet behind closed doors, and do not discuss relationship issues. For pornography, software is available to monitor or block web activity.

5. Financial Pressure

70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.Most ministries are nonprofits, so pastors are not compensated well. When you can’t fully provide the life you want for your family, it makes it hard to continue. Then you look at friends not in the ministry with big houses and nice cars. Pastors can relieve the pressure with better financial planning. Try following the 8-10-10 rule – 10% to church, 10% to savings, and 80% to live off.

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