Home Pastors Articles for Pastors It’s Not Just Church Members Who Are Hurt by the Church

It’s Not Just Church Members Who Are Hurt by the Church

2. Having people scrutinize your pay. Because it’s “church work” many believe being a pastor means living as an indentured servant to the church. There are also church boards who make it their job to pinch every penny. If a pastor drives a new car someone will complain, judge and assume he is in it just for the money. I’ve heard so many complaints against pastors making money it has permanently left a mark. I don’t even mean to, but I feel I have to explain how we can afford to take a vacation, go to the movies or buy something new. I’ll often start a story with, “Our friend gave us their house in Nags Head for the week. That’s the only way we could afford it.”

3. Having close relationships end because of a decision you’ve made. I just met with a pastor who ended up leaving his church because some elders were mad he didn’t want to hire one of their granddaughters as the worship leader. She was still in high school and had zero experience in it. The church almost split because he kindly disagreed. Best friends become sworn enemies overnight in the church world. I have seen more grace being shown toward Pastor Perry Noble after he admitted to struggling with alcohol than I have seen toward a pastor who disagreed with a church member, staff member or church board. No one can keep all people happy. The pressure is unreal once a pastor realizes every relationship is one decision away from ending. When relationships end it’s never pretty.

4. Loneliness. Because relationships can be fragile, a pastor has to be incredibly careful who he trusts. Often what is confessed ends up being ammunition against the pastor once church members become upset. According to LifeWay Research, 55 percent of pastors feel lonely.  During difficult seasons many pastors take the heat and never share their perspective. This isn’t saying every pastor is perfect. Pastors are imperfect people who can hurt others. But in a lot of instances when someone gets mad they blast the pastor and he is left trying to pick up the pieces with just his family.

5. Having to deliver a sermon when you are spiritually empty. Every human I know goes through seasons in the proverbial desert. Sunday comes every week. No matter what is going on, the church needs the pastor to deliver. Have you ever cried through an entire worship set and then had to get up to preach? Pastors must take care of themselves, but even the healthiest pastors go through seasons. I don’t know a single pastor who cannot relate to that.

6. Temptation. No one asks the pastor about how he is dealing with temptation. It just doesn’t happen. But pastors are human. They struggle just like everyone else. With a lack of accountability, it is easy to let things slide. Other times the pressure of the church world is so weighty a pastor literally feels the only way to escape is to sabotage his ministry by giving in to temptation.

Every pastor is imperfect. No pastor should be put on a pedestal. Sure, pastors should have honor showed to them. That’s biblical. But honor doesn’t mean creating them into something they are not…perfect.

This article is an excerpt from You Misspelled Christian by Rob Shepherd.