This may be a shocking question for you to read. Pastors get depressed? Yes, they do. There are very real reasons why this is. Any pastor reading this already knows how likely it is for them to fall into it. The pressures and demands upon the pastor are so constant and great, only pastors and their families truly know this joyful burden. These pressures and demands carry over into the pastor’s family and can even lead to feelings of despair and resentment in his wife and children. So, what are the reasons pastors are so susceptible to depression? Paul Tripp gave 4 incredibly insightful reasons:
1) Unrealistic Expectations
2) Family Tensions
3) Fear of Man
4) Kingdom Confusion
I would encourage all pastors, pastors’ wives, and church members who desire to care well for their pastors to read Tripp’s full article here.
Just remember, your pastor is not superman, regardless how much you think so. Pastor, you are not superman, regardless how much your people tell you. Make sure you are mindful of the long term effects of the burdens of pastoral ministry and do the things you need to do to guard from hitting the wall and not getting up. Here are a few to think about I am currently learning the hard way:
1) Rest regularly. Even when you “think” you do not need it.
2) Remember the spiritual battle that wages. Especially against you and your family.
3) Allow a few trusted brothers to look into your soul. Pastors need spiritual care also.
4) Regularly tend to your wife’s soul. Even when you “think” she appears fine.
Do not wait until you or your wife hits a wall, before you realize how real this struggle is for those who serve Christ in this unique way. What you do now will prepare you better for when that day comes. Trust me, these are more painful lessons to learn when you are in the heart of the struggle. Watch for the warning signs. Plan ahead of time. You, your family, and your church will be glad you did.