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Most Pastors Don’t FEEL Successful

Happy Hump Day!!

I don’t know about you, but I’m praying today is a little smoother than yesterday. After some morning meetings in the morning I flew to Dallas to do an interview for Christian TV and then flew back last night. Got in around 11:45 PM but on my way home got pulled over by a cop for having a headlight out. He was an incredibly nice guy who did write me a ticket and then spent the next 30 minutes talking to me about life. Yes, 30 minutes!!!! We talked about everything from parenting, to Duck Dynasty (my favorite TV show), to the dangers of driving with just one headlight.  I guess cops get lonely too.  He certainly had a captivated audience. Ha!


Hey I’m so excited to introduce you guys to a good friend of mine today. Shawn Lovejoy is no stranger to many of you. He’s  the founding and Lead Pastor of Mountain Lake Church; Directional Leader of churchplanters.com; and author of Measure of Our Success, The: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors, which nationally released yesterday. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Tricia, and their three kids: Hannah, Madison, and Paul.

I truly LOVE this guy. He has one of the purest hearts in ministry and I’m so glad he wrote this book. I hope you’ll pick a copy up. He was gracious to do a guest post for us today and share  a little bit about the heart behind this book.


My good friends Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research and Todd Wilson of the Exponential Network conducted research in 2010 that only confirmed what I have sensed and seen for years. Their research showed that most pastors don’t feel “successful” in their ministries. In their research, most pastors admitted to struggling with
* the battle to overcome pride and drivenness;
* loneliness and isolation;
* mistrust;
* lack of rest; and
* maintaining joy.

The question I’ve been asking is very simple: Why? Why are so many pastors and ministry leaders falling? Why are they so vulnerable? Why are they so unfulfilled? Lonely? Insecure? Burned out? Discouraged? Depressed? Why are so many not seeing the fruit they hoped they would see? What is wrong with pastors?

I have wrestled with this. I have prayed over this. I have talked with many ministry leaders who are winning, some who are losing, and many who are struggling. Here’s my basic conclusion: the main reason so many of us are struggling stems from our basic definition of success. Our root problem is that we have exchanged God’s definition of success for our own. We have begun to measure success the way the world does.

To reclaim the calling, purpose, and joy that put us in our ministries, we simply can not measure our success by the size of our crowds, buildings, or budgets…at least we should not. If we do, it will cost us. It has cost me. I’ve seen these false measures of success wreak havoc in my own heart, mind, ministry, and marriage. Thank God, He redeemed me from measuring things the way the world does before it was too late.

Today, my life, ministry, and family is better because of it. I’m still tempted daily…but by His grace and power, I am winning. I want God to use my story and my learnings in working with other pastors to redeem the stories of thousands of pastors around the world.

Together, we must together rediscover “The Measure of Our Success.” That measure is found in, and only in, our relationship with Jesus Christ. In Him and through Him we find our destiny, purpose, clarify our real calling, and begin to measure what really matters.

Today, would you be willing to ask: “Jesus, what really matters to you?” Go ahead. Ask Him the question. If you will, and then be quiet enough for long enough, He will speak to you. Read back through the Gospels with these lenses. Before you know it, you will have a new agenda for your life. You will find a new sense of calling and fulfillment in your ministry. You’ll rediscover The Measure of Our Success

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Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN and author of a new book entitled Plan B, his thoughts about what to do when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. He is a frequent blogger on his popular ministry blog, WithoutWax.tv. Pete is married and has three sons.