Top 7 Reasons Pastors Consider Quitting

The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 145

It’s been well-documented that the tenure of pastors has been decreasing for some time now. A recent Barna study looked into some reasons that pastors consider quitting, and we think there are solutions to these issues.  Unfortunately, pastors often feel isolated or under-resourced to deal with the challenges of this unique calling. This week on The Church Revitalization Podcast, we tackled the top seven reasons that pastors consider quitting the ministry.  Find the full Barna article here.

The top 7 reasons that pastors consider quitting the ministry.

#1 – The immense stress of the job

Solution: Leadership Development

Whether you’re a solo pastor or not, the weight of the world sometimes feels like it’s on your shoulders and there is no help around. That may be true today, but it doesn’t have to be forever. Investing in leadership development is always a good use of your time that pays of great dividends in the future with more ministry happening. Remember, we’re to prepare God’s people for works of service. Their service to the Lord will also relieve you.

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#2 – I feel lonely and isolated

Solution: Coaching and counseling

There is always someone to talk to. If you’re part of a denomination or association, then start there.  If you are not, there are a lot of pastoral coaching and counseling services available for short-term issues or longer-term programs.  Your seminary is a good place to find referrals too.

#3 – Current political divisions

Solution: Commitment to Scripture above commitment to party

Some pastors are fine jumping into the fray and battling in the political ring, but for most, the divisions that separate people are a source of frustration and discomfort. Let God’s Word speak for you. The church should not shy away from relevant cultural and political topics, but the answers and applications for today need not be colored blue or red (United States political party reference). God is apolitical, but has strong feelings about many things.

#4 – I am unhappy with the effect this role has had on my family

Solution: Take ALL of your vacation days (quantity AND quality time)

The solution to this issue has connections to #1 also. Many times, pastors don’t take the time off that they need or are owed because they think there is nobody else that can get done what needs to be done.  That may actually be true in some cases, which is a situation that needs to be remedied as soon as possible. Rest is important and quality time with family is important.  Both are important to God too. In addition to regular days off and vacation time, every church should develop a sabbatical policy also.

#5 – I am not optimistic about the future of my church

Solution: Remember that God isn’t done with your church until He says so; the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against the church.

You need a Hell-shattering vision for your church. It’s the biggest driver of unity, excitement, anticipation and optimism. With no vision of the future the day-to-day work of ministry feels never-ending and sometimes even pointless. The Kingdom of God is not static and His vision for His church is one of positive movement and expansion.  Click Here and enter your zip code to see how many “unclaimed” people there are near you. There is a great need for the Gospel message you have to offer.

#6 – My vision for the church conflicts with the church’s direction

Solution: Vision formation is a team sport, but even teams need a captain.

Without a stated vision for the church, everyone is operating under their own individual visions.  Nobody actually talks about it until they are either forced to or a leader asks them to. We encourage vision development through a strategic leadership team, but every team needs a good coach, and that’s the role of the pastor. Vision development should be bound first by the church’s mission – to make and mature disciples of Jesus (See Matthew 28:19-20). If everyone agrees on the mission, then you can find common ground on vision.

#7 – My church is steadily declining

Solution: Become externally focused.

Solve #5 and #6 and you’ll be making progress in turning #7 around too. Every healthy growing church focuses outward. If your church is declining, it likely has lost it’s zeal for getting the Gospel into the ears of those who need to hear it. 

Here at The Maphurs Group, we love declining churches. Well, we don’t love that there are any churches that are declining, but we love working with the ones that are because we can help turn them around.  Contact one of our Certified Guides today to talk about how our Strategic Envisioning process can help set your church in a new direction.

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A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.

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