Ministry Inside.110

quitHave you been tempted to quit?

Many of us have considered quitting at one time or another.  After all, serving in a ministry role can be very, very difficult.  In fact, there may be times that are so grueling you may wonder what you got yourself into.

Why would a minister and his family consider leaving a “full-time” ministry role?

1.  Relentless criticism from members of the congregation.  Many people in ministry roles understand that criticism comes with this work.  However, some criticism can be deeply hurtful and debilitating.  A minister may experience great pain and frustration when some in a congregation criticize his children or his spouse.  The same is true when criticism is aimed toward one’s personality or even his integrity.

2.  Disappointment that one experiences in a congregation.  Serving in a ministry role with a congregation often means that a person will become aware of some of the wonderful ways in which members quietly serve the Lord.  However, this can also mean that one is now exposed to some very nasty attitudes.  Perhaps this minister or elder even admired these people at one time.  Now, however, this church leader is witnessing another side of this church member.

3.  Financial stress.  Sometimes congregations do not provide adequate financial support to their ministers.  Consequently, some ministers and their families feel constant stress due to their financial situation.  Ministers may feel like they can not share this burden with their elder group or friends within the church lest their motives be misconstrued.  Consequently, these families bear this stress alone.  Yes, I know that some ministry families put themselves into debt due to unwise financial decisions and undisciplined spending.  However, some are simply trying to live on an income that is inadequate.

4.  Loneliness and isolation.  Some church leaders (ministers, elders, pastors, and many, many others) feel lonely and isolated.  They find that their friends really don’t understand the work they do or the pressures they are under.  Complicating this even more is the reality that some ministers often feel geographically isolated from their extended families due to their location.



What are some other reasons that might cause a church leader to consider leaving a particular ministry role?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “Ministry Inside.110

  1. A dear preacher friend of mine who started preaching in the early 1950s once told me of how the rotten ceiling of the kitchen came down around him and his family one Sunday morning while they were sitting at the breakfast table. He said that when he told his elders during a quick meeting that morning, he decided he would also ask for a $5.00 raise, upping his salary to $50.00 a week. One elder, with a look of shock, said, “You want us to fix the ceiling and giver you a raise, too? There ain’t no preacher worth $50.00 a week”.

    While preachers of all denominations have difficulties, there is a thorn that is unique to ministers of the Chuch of Christ. Since the birth of the Restoration Movement preachers of the CoC have constantly reminded the people that ministers are not Reverends or Pastors. They did their job too well. Many are reminded of this whenever they try to lead. Disrespect is wrapped with “being scriptual”.

    I do find it ironic and humorous that in many congregations now that the only person addressed as BROTHER by the members is the preacher. The only other person who uses it is the preacher himself when addressing elderly members. Still, it has rapidly become a title for those who claim to have no title. But, that is how titles and offices come to be, by custom and tradition, which are actually very comforting and healthy parts of reality if we just stop denying that we have them. Anyway, I cannot blame a preacher if he enjoys being the one singled out as BROTHER. It does get tiresome and painful after a while believing that you must put yourself down and invite others join you.

    • John, this is a very good comment. Unfortunately, this particular perspective on preachers has at times given some permission to mistreat and disrespect these servants of God. In many instances, I think it has contributed to not only minimizing the preacher’s role but the preaching ministry as well.

      Years ago, I was in conversation with a woman in her late 70s. She mentioned a former minister of her congregation. Then she said, “Yes, some us didn’t like him and we ran him off. Then she smiled.” There was something very sad about a person who had been a Christian for many years now talking about a minister of the word in such a way.

      We would all do well to treat all members of the body of Christ with the respect and dignity that is worthy of the one who died for our sins. There is never any justification for a Christ follower to treat a person in a way that is demeaning and disrespectful.

      Thanks John.

  2. Failure to achieve vision. I believe many talented and passionate ministers become frustrated and despondent when over time expectations are not met and the burden of ministry takes it’s toll.