Last night I received a text from a Facebook friend in the ministry who shared with me that he was using my book The Healthy Pastor: Easing the Pressures of Ministry in a seminar he was doing for the pastors in his association. Earlier this year another association had asked me to lead a seminar for them based on the information in that book, but our schedules wouldn't allow it this year. I hope this indicates that church leaders are beginning to find this book because most of the seminars and conferences I'm asked to lead are based on other books I've written.
Much is written about the pressures facing church leaders today. We know these pressures are a primary reason so many church leaders are prematurely leaving the ministry, yet I see few denominations and judicatories proactively addressing the problem. Most of the conferences I see offered are how to grow churches and how to address church challenges; few are designed to help pastors deal with the pressures they face.
Pastors are some of the loneliest people I've known. Many are afraid to have friends in the churches they serve, and there seems to be little time to develop friendships outside of the congregation. Some fear sharing their challenges with other pastors, and even more refuse to talk to their denominational leadership about specific challenges they face. I've had some tell me they were afraid there would be repercussions if they revealed to me some of the struggles in their lives. With few friends to talk to and a fear of sharing struggles with their peers, who do they have to help them through those struggles? It is not a healthy situation.
One of the most common problems faced by church leaders is the time crunch many feel. Most pastors I know work more hours than anyone should expect, and many of them feel they still don't accomplish everything they should. Unfortunately, some in their congregations believe the same thing and let them know it. At the same time clergy families wonder why they can't have more of their spouse's and parent's time. As one pastor's wife asked, "How can I compete when my husband's mistress is the church?"
I address these, and many more, challenges faced by many church leaders. While we cannot eliminate the challenges we face in the ministry, we can do much to reduce it. We can also better manage those challenges so they create less pressure on us and our families. That's what I try to do in this book.
If you are a church leader who is feeling the pressures of ministry I think this book can help you. If you know one who struggles buy him or her a copy of this book. I thank my friend for using it to help his fellow pastors deal with the pressures of ministry.