Small Church Pastors have quit because of frustration; resigned because of weariness, or burned out because of “doing it all,” and these are the top four reasons why.
INSUFFICIENCY Many small church pastors feel they can’t cope with the increasing demands or work, visitation, preaching, studying, family events and planning. Frustration and anger grows when our calendar is full, our load is heavier and our body is tired. Lack of exercise, eating right, prayer, a sabbatical and family time has eaten the small church pastor’s health, money, time and energy.
The power of sufficiency isn’t found in doing it all but is found in doing the right thing first. Not just a priority list but a “what gives me the best energy?” Or, what gives my time the best return? Putting God first and family second may not be just a traditional priority list – it still works today. Spend time alone with God each morning, praying and reading the Word of God. The time spent with God will be inviting and refreshing.
LOW FINANCES It is disastrous when a small church pastor lives out of the offering plate and there is a hole in the bottom of the plate. Small church pastors rarely get paid sufficiently for the demands and time involved with the church. When my wife and I began in the ministry we made $350 a week with an infant, barely enough but yet managed to put back a small amount each week, planning for vacation or a weekend trip to see my wife’s family. It wasn’t much but it was enough.
God will make up the difference. Not trying to be simplistic but really, faithfulness brings God’s attention and God will make up the difference.
COMPARISON There is nothing that will kill the calling and disrupt your ministry joy like comparing your church to those around you. After subscribing to a church magazine for months I finally cancelled my FREE subscription. That’s right, the magazine was free but it was killing my calling to my church. Reading about a mega church or how one church reached a 100 people in one Saturday began to depress me.
Renew your calling to your location. God hasn’t asked you to be like everybody else or even, to pastors another church, He has called you and your fulfillment is found in best serving where you are not trying to be like the church down the road.
DEPRESSION Depression visits most pastors every Monday morning. Who quit? Where was the Smith family? Why did they say what they say? How come the offering was so low? Where was everybody at? You know the drill. If the small church pastor gauges his success by people sitting in the seats and the money in the pan he will experience discouragement and depression.
Depression is a trick of the enemy to distract you from God’s original purpose. Find God, find His purpose through you and the joy will flow. Find a friend, take the time to read a book or you and your wife take a walk. Get out of the house and get out of your office at least once or twice a week. Your attendance was down and your offering was down – FIGHT – don’t let your spirits go down too.
God has NOT forgotten you. Remember Jesus, most of His three years of ministry, only had twelve who followed Him. It is not the number – it is the calling. God has called you to preach the Word – do it with all your heart.
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.