It has been said often the leaders are readers. This is true. But unbeknownst to many people entering leadership, they soon learn leaders are also bleeders. And that leads to pastors who want to quit.
Why do I say this?
I talk to pastors for a living. More and more often I am spending time encouraging them and reminding them of the impact they are making in the lives of people. This is necessary because there are so many pastors who want to quit.
Often a young man enters seminary or bible college wanting to honor God, reach people for Jesus, see the Great Commission advanced, and change the world. They leave school well-prepared to preach and defend the faith. However, they often leave poorly equipped to deal with elders and deacons. They are also introduced to things like budget meetings, architects, builders, accountants, tax laws, zoning laws, and permitting.
Many pastors are blindsided by betrayals, staff and lay leader conflict, misunderstandings, bearing the burdens of others, and good friends leaving the church.
The average American pastor makes less in compensation than the average school teacher. They try to raise a family on meager salaries while sometimes carrying enormous student loan debt. In addition, many pastors and their wives both report having no friends.
This is not limited to just pastors. All leaders face their own set of issues. But betrayal, misunderstandings, feelings of inadequacy, and loneliness are universal. They affect all leaders from time-to-time.
Leadership is wonderful. You have a front row seat to seeing the lives of people changed. But leadership also hurts.
Leaders pay a higher price than others. It has been said that if you feel like you’re getting kicked in the rear, it just means you’re out front. Well, at a certain point your rear end begins to hurt… a lot! Leaders do not know they signed up for regular butt-kickings! But they did. This is the small print of the leadership contract.
During this entire time, leaders also have a family with all the issues that come with marriage, raising children, extended family, medical issues, and personal finances. After a while, leaders can only take so many body blows. They grow weary. They don’t know how long they can go on.
Then they get on the phone with me and share their story. I understand the pain they face. Maybe not their specific pain but rather the leadership pain which is universal.
I listen. Remind them of the impact they are making. Remind them of how important they are and how much what they do is making a difference. Remind them the world is a better place because they stayed in the game. And then we pray. I hope I encouraged them.
Leaders hurt. Leaders weep. Leaders are afraid. Leaders get knocked down. Leaders fall down. Leaders bleed. But the best leaders just keep getting up one more time.
Leaders, I know you are bleeding. I know you are hurting. I know you feel you can’t get back up. But you can. Leaders, get up. Stand up. Dust yourself off. Bandage your wounds. Now, get back in the game.
We need you. Your people need you. The world needs you. Your family needs you. You are making a difference. Lives are changed because of you.
Thank you for showing up every week. And pastors, thanks for not quitting on Monday.
This article about pastors who want to quit originally appeared here.