Being a Pastor is hard. Being a Pastor and struggling with mental health issues is harder still. Because so much of our lives is like living in a goldfish bowl we get very skilled at projecting an image.
Here are some truths though.
The average pastor lasts about three years.
1500 pastors leave the ministry every month, due to spiritual burnout or contention in the church.
America is experiencing a net loss of 3000 churches each year.
70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
80% of pastors and 84% of pastors’ wives are discouraged with the ministry.
50% are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other means of making a living.
80% of pastors’ wives wish their husband had chosen another profession.
50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
70% of pastors do not have a close friend or confidant.
80% of pastors’ children must seek professional help for depression by the time they become adults.
Over 50% of pastors’ wives said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered into the ministry.
Here is a list of things a pastor might not tell you:
It doesn't matter how people leave, we always take it personally and it always hurts.
We run the risk of constantly neglecting our own kids because of the constant pressure to help everyone else's.
It's physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting to thoroughly preach a message.
We don't get the same luxury of having a pastor to call when we struggle.
Our kids are under constant scrutiny and will often be used against us by critical people. Once when telling a guy in my church about how naughty my dog had been that week he looked at me and said, “But he’s a Pastors dog”. I almost fainted. Not only do my kids have to be perfect but my dog does too.
We struggle financially like everyone else and additionally worry about the entire church’s financial stability.
We have very few friends, a whole bunch of acquaintances, and less than a handful we can really trust.
Working fifty hours a week is considered part-time.
We can rarely rejoice in who shows up because we immediately know who skipped out.
We struggle with turning off our phones, disconnecting, or going out of town.
We never get days free of drama and problems.
No matter how good Sunday was, Monday is always an emotional roller coaster.
The weight of people's unrealistic expectations fills us with anxiety and restlessness.