When reading an article titled “Six Reasons Your Pastor Is About to Quit” by Thom Rainer and posted on ChurchAnswers.Com , I was perplexed. The real issue that kept drawing me back to read it again is that the top issues listed in this article causing pastors to quit are the same reasons that men quit in general. Quitting is an epidemic in all aspects of life. We have to understand a couple of key principles that are required to be successful in anything. First, the only way to greatness is through longevity. You can’t be great on day one, you have to hone your skills and work at it. The second principle is it is easier to obtain than it is to maintain.
These two concepts are centered in one word, faithfulness. If a person is called to pastor, or shepherd others, he must be faithful. To be faithful means to show up regardless of how tough it is. What really concerns me with this article is the author is attempting to inform readers “Pastors are burned out, beaten up, downtrodden.”
In a word, weak.
No one wants to hear this, but this is the truth about so many Christians today. As a body, we lack faithfulness. We lack faithfulness because we lack courage in the face of adversity. We lack the fundamental requirement of being a Christian. We are saved by grace through faith. What is required to have faith?
First let’s define faith- one definition under Google is
“complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV
If we understand faith is hope for and assurance of what we don’t see, what is faithfulness? Well, to be faithful. Again, google defines faithful as “ loyal, constant, and steadfast.”
Pastors are to lead others by example. This means in order to expect a congregation to be faithful- loyal, constant, steadfast, he must first be those things. Why do we know that? Because Jesus walked the earth to demonstrate how we should live. He gave the first example of true shepherdship over men. He provided the groundwork to what it means to pastor or shepherd, people. Jesus demonstrated faithfulness. God remains steadfast and true to His Word. Imagine if he wasn’t faithful? Imagine if He didn’t hold true to His Word?
Now let’s look at the points from the article-
- Pastors are weary from the pandemic, just like everyone else.
- Pastors are greatly discouraged about the fighting taking place among church members about the post-quarantine church.
- Pastors are discouraged about losing members and attendance.
- Pastors don’t know if their churches will be able to support ministries financially in the future.
- Criticism against pastors has increased significantly.
- The workload for pastors has increased greatly.
Well….. These are the same reasons people don’t come to church to begin with.
This isn’t going to be popular, but if you are pastoring people and you are thinking of quitting for these reasons, you should quit. You have no business leading anyone.
It’s not a matter of judging, we all have doubts and fears. We all get discouraged. However, if you are called to pastor and lead others, to shepherd, you need to preach what you live. You aren’t called to preach and then hope to live up to what you preach, you should be living it first.
How can you preach for others to be faithful if you aren’t?
How can you ask others to give time, talent, and treasure if you aren’t?
How can you expect others to get through the world with all the negativity and criticism of being Christian if you can’t?
How can you ask others to work heartily as unto the Lord if you aren’t?
How can you expect others to not get discouraged about life if you can’t trust God to get you through?
The quickest way to debunk all of these excuses is to know them out one by one.
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Mattew 11:28. If you are a weary Pastor, why aren’t you leaning into Jesus?
- Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. Hebrews 13:17. Remember that if you are called to pastor, God has placed you in authority. If you are following God in faithful obedience, they will come around. If they don’t God is pruning your flock. Remain faithful and steadfast.
- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2. If you are focused on God, attendance doesn’t matter. If you are faithful and look to Him as your source, the numbers don’t matter.
- And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19. Don’t worry about finances, God is your source. He will meet all your needs. We can never out-give God.
- 2 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; 3 bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:2-6. Read God’s Word if you are failing to remember why you are there. If people are criticizing you, remain loving and faithful. Trust in God. If you feel convicted to change something, do it! If it’s just groaning, remember complaining from your wife is not a reason to jump to divorce. Neither is running from your church and “divorcing your flock.”
- 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24. Work for the Lord. God recognizes and rewards your faithfulness. If you are a pastor, you should set this example for those in your flock.
I know this is unpopular to say, but just because someone has a title doesn’t mean they deserve it. If you are a pastor and you are thinking of quitting, consult God for strength and encouragement. We all know some people took jobs they weren’t called to do. It happens in churches just as easily as it happens in the secular workplace.
I just want to encourage you to rethink excuses like this article. God should be our source of encouragement. Not to say we shouldn’t have encouragement from those around us.
For example, the pastor of my church is absolutely faithful. Of course, it is discouraging when people don’t show up, but the thought of quitting has never crossed his mind. He shows up whether one or 100 show up. That’s a man I will respect, stand behind and encourage.
There are thousands, literally, who could potentially read this. I’m sure many are pastors. If you are quitting for any of these reasons, it might be the best thing for your flock. Honestly, if you are quitting for any of these reasons, you have no business leading others. God asks for faithfulness and obedience, we should remain faithful in the toughest of times.