Home Pastors Articles for Pastors The Secret Pain of Pastors

The Secret Pain of Pastors

1. Criticism 

Pastors can be criticized by a lot of people for a multitude of things.

“Music is too loud. Worship is not long enough. It’s too long.”

“Sermon is not deep enough. It’s too long.” 

“Pastor thinks he’s too important. It took me three weeks to get an appointment.”

“You talk too much about money.”

“Can I talk to you for a minute, Pastor?” This simple question can cause a pastor to think: “Oy vey. Now what?”

We pastors need to find a way to not take criticism so personally and learn from truths that could be hidden in the criticism.

2. Rejection

Members leave, leaders leave and pastors’ friends leave. The reality is—people leave.

The smaller the church, the more obvious it is when people leave. Some leave for reasonable decisions; many leave ‘ungracefully.’ They leave the big churches, too—by the thousands.

People leave T.D. Jakes’ church, and they leave Andy Stanley’s church.

When our church had about 150 people and some would leave, it was so disappointing. I tried to console myself by thinking, “They may be leaving by the dozens here at Oasis, but thousands have left Jack Hayford’s church, and he’s a great pastor.” … That only helped for a minute.

“I’m leaving.”

“We want something deeper.”

“My needs aren’t getting met.”

These comments can feel like a personal rejection.

Every pastor has heard, “I’m not getting fed here.” Bill Hybels has heard it. Wayne Cordero, Dino Rizzo, Ed Young, Craig Groeschel, Steven Furtick and Matthew Barnett have heard it.

Really? Not getting fed? In those churches? How is that possible?

One of the most difficult conditions to achieve is to have a “tough skin and a soft heart.” Love people, hold them lightly and don’t take it personally.

“Uhhh, OK. Lord, help us.”

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philipwagner@churchleaders.com'
Philip Wagner is Lead Pastor of Oasis Church in Los Angeles and founder of Generositywater.org. Oasis is an innovative and racially diverse church, largely comprised of people in their 20’s & 30’s. Oasis is known for its local and global outreach to the impoverished; especially orphans and widows, and funding clean water projects. Philip and his wife, Holly, started Oasis in 1984, in Beverly Hills with10 people. Today they’ve grown to 3000+ members.