What are the most common struggles of a regular pastor?

As I work with pastor all around the world, I am struck by two things:  How much pastors are struggling with discouragement and how many think they are alone in their struggle.  Last week, I received an email from a pastor who poured his heart out to me and in doing so captured well the common struggles so many pastors face.  Read this email.  Pastors, empathize with his struggles and remember you are not alone in your discouragement.

This discouraged pastor writes…

I am in a really dark place at the moment and feel that I have no friend to talk too and no one I can go to. I am constantly struggling with despondency and discouragement.  The church has on average about 30-40 people on a Sunday. But my desire for the church to grow is great and my passion to see souls saved is even greater.

I am pretty much responsible for everything even though I have tried to raise up other people, but their lack of commitment and faithfulness disqualify them from meaningful ministries.

I feel I am alone when it comes to wanting the church to grow with only 3 people attending our weekly outreach program. I am constantly organizing events, programs, schedule revivals and others pastors to come and minister to the church.  I just can’t seem to break this despondency, I just don’t seem to have the heart anymore. I am preaching, outreaching doing what I can but my heart is just not in it. I found myself questioning whether now is the time to step down and let someone else take over.

I am tired, financially struggling as I work full time trying to support my family and the church, as others are just not giving at the moment.

I don’t have anyone to talk to and it makes me feel so alone, I am just not the person I was when I opened the church. My wife tries to encourage me and be understanding but I just don’t want to burden her with all these emotions and feelings all the time.

Pastors, pray for this brother and remember you are not alone.  Find a few pastors around you for friendship and support.  Other pastors struggle like you and the Chief Shepherd is always with you.  That is enough to hold fast!

Posted in The Pastor's Soul
9 comments on “What are the most common struggles of a regular pastor?
  1. Allen Mickle says:

    As a small church pastor, I totally get where this brother is at. If he is close to me (I’m in the Hudson Valley of NY) I’d like to take him to lunch.

  2. Aaron says:

    I empathize with this brother and am praying for him and fellow ministers now. 1 Corinthians 15:58

  3. Wayne Moore says:

    I have had the same feelings. I have developed an almost daily habit of reading certain Scriptures to keep me faithful. I read Psalm 23 to remind me that I have a Shepherd who cares for me. I read Ezekiel 34:16 to keep me on task. I read Hosea 4:16 (HCSB) to remind me that even God has trouble shepherding His people. I read Acts 6:3-4 and Ephesians 4:11-13 to remind me that I can’t do it alone. I read 2 Timothy 4:1-5 to encourage me to endure the hardships and not quit. Finally, I read 1 Peter 5:1-4 to remind me of the attitude I should have and of my future reward. I hope this is helpful. I also meet with three other pastors twice a month just to eat and enjoy the company.

  4. revjpbowman says:

    Yep, I could have written that email. I constantly must remind myself of God’s faithfulness. Even when others seem to not be faithful…God is. My wife and I planted a church a year ago and sometimes it’s just her, me, and a couple faithful ladies there for service. But I cannot doubt His word for us to plant that church. Success is oft times measured in obedience, not numbers or how well our programs are received. We asked three ladies to set aside one meal on just one day a week to pray and fast with us. They spent the rest of our time together haggling over the day and the meal with no positive outcome! lol Have to laugh or I would cry. Praying for all of us to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. Be blessed.

  5. T.A.L.L says:

    This honestly sounds like a church that needs to merge or close. I would bet this church is not far from other churches of like faith and practice and likely other churches of like faith and practice that also can not afford to support a Senior Pastor. Being a church plant is one thing, being the only solid church in a large area is a another thing, but being a small church that can not support a Pastor surrounded by other churches that can not support a Pastor and yet calling a Pastor is shameful. Sorry for this brother.

  6. Bill says:

    I don’t see porn on the list.

  7. Jacques says:

    Prayed for this Brother. God has to speak to this particular church through His word to obey His commandments in the area of great commission and giving. Will try remembering this pastor and his church in my daily prayer.

    Hoping that God will raise someone who is faithful to Him to share the responsibilities.

  8. Joshua McCarnan says:

    I saved this in my Evernote and was able to read over it again this morning. Nothing inspired here just thinking out loud…

    Could this pastor’s struggles come from unmet expectations and misplaced desires?

    It is more than just a philosophical emphases…but I don’t think his “desire for the church to grow is great and my passion to see souls saved is even greater.” should be the main thing that he is passionate about. Borrowing from Piper’s thinking on Missions exists because worship doesn’t — He shouldn’t be passionate about the product of worship but rather passionate about the object of worship- Jesus Christ! So if he gave himself to pursuing Christ more (shoot, if I gave myself to that more) would not the salvations and the numbers come?

    People aren’t passionate about programs and events, they are passionate about causes and concepts (often incarnated in people). So getting them stoked about door2door visitation without getting them stoked about Jesus seems like an exercise in futility.

    Again, thinking out loud. Please correct and sharpen my thinking here.

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  1. […] Pastor Brian Croft at his Practical Shepherding site, addresses the question, What Are the Most Common Struggles of a Regular Pastor? […]

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