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3 Ways Pastors KILL (and Are Killed by) Ministry

We who identify ourselves as pastors and leaders need to ask ourselves hard questions (or, if we’re especially bold, ask those closest to us to evaluate us):

1. How many hours do you work in a typical week? How many hours does your spouse think you work in a typical week?

2. How many hours do you expect from other full-time staff? (If there’s a difference between your weekly hours and theirs, why?)

3. When was the last time you tucked your kids in at bedtime? How often does this happen each week?

4. What does “healthy life balance” actually look like? If it’s not measurable, you’ll never do it. Ask your spouse and children for input.

5. Who holds you accountable to maintain that “healthy life balance”? Are you giving them the whole picture?

6. Are you developing more leaders, and, more important, are you letting them lead without looking over their shoulder all the time (micromanaging)?

7. Do you feel supported in ministry by other staff, lay leaders (elders/board)? Have you allowed them the opportunity to support you?

8. Do you have friends outside of the church? If so, do you have time to spend with them?

9. Do you feel guilty spending time with people if it’s not “ministry-related”?

10. Has there been steady turnover in the staff working under your leadership? How long has the average tenure of an associate pastor been in the last five years? Did they leave under a cloud of crisis?

11. Who can tell you “no”? (If your answer is “Jesus,” that’s very spiritual of you, but you may need to widen that circle just a bit.)  

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Robby McAlpine is a veteran pastor, worship leader, missionary, and writer. He is a regular contributor at ThinkTheology.org, and has written numerous books, including Detoxing from Church, Post-Charismatic 2.0: Rekindle the Smoldering Wick, and The Genesis Cafe: Conversations on the Kingdom. Robby and Wendy have been married for 29 years, and have three incredible kids: a social worker, a missionary, and a student.