This past week a pastor commented to me how tired they were and how they are rarely if ever told thank you. I understand that feeling of tiredness and being unappreciated. I also understand how hard it is sometimes to feel so alone in a ministry field. Please take a moment to read this entire blog post. Your pastor’s life may depend on it.
I and my fellow pastors need you to understand a few things about how ministry works. Take a look at these numbers:
- 72% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
- 84% of pastors feel they are on call 24/7.
- 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
- 78% of pastors report having their vacation and personal time interrupted with ministry duties or expectations.
- 35% of pastors report the demands of the church denies them from spending time with their family.
- 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves.
- 57% of pastors believe they do not receive a livable wage.
- 57% of pastors are unable to pay their bills.
- 75% of pastors report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
- 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses have felt unqualified and discouraged as role of pastors at least one or more times in their ministry.
- 52% of pastors feel overworked and cannot meet their church’s unrealistic expectations.
- 54% of pastors find the role of a pastor overwhelming.
- 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once in the last year.
- 35% of pastors battle depression or fear of inadequacy.
- 26% of pastors report being over fatigued.
- 28% of pastors report they are spiritually undernurished.
- Over 50% of pastors state the biggest challenge is to recruit volunteers and encourage their members to change (living closer to God’s Word).
- 70% of pastors report they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
- 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider to be a close friend.
- 57% of pastors feel fulfilled but yet discouraged, stressed, and fatigued.
- 1 out of every 10 pastors will actually retire as a pastor.
I know that is a lot of statistics, but I feel you need to hear what we go thru. On top of all those, the one thing I hear most from my fellow pastors is that they rarely are told thank you. It may seem like a really small thing, but trust me, it is huge to a pastor.
Right around the corner is Clergy Appreciation Month. We take the entire month of October as an opportunity to thank those clergy people who serve us in ways we do not fully understand every day. And yet, so many people fail to take time to thank their pastor.
Why not start now? Why not take a moment to thank your pastor?
If you would like to show your appreciation in other ways, here are a few suggestions:
- Say thank you to your pastor on a regular basis. This is the most simple way to show your gratitude.
- Give your pastor a gift. It can be something as small as a handwritten note telling them how thankful you are for them and how they impacted you in positive ways. Or it can be something as elaborate as a gift card to a nice Resturant or their favorite coffee spot.
- Donate to the church in their honor. Most pastors spend hours on top of hours worried about their church’s finances. You can help to alleviate that worry by donating and say thank you by doing it in their honor.
- Volunteer at church. Most pastor’s end up doing a lot of work at church because there are not enough hands to help. You can help lighten their load by volunteering to help in the parish. You can do something as simple as cleaning the bathrooms or refilling the paper towels. That is one less job your pastor has to do.
These are just a few simple ways you can show your gratitude. This will help to lift your pastor’s spirit and keep them from possibly burning out.
Please join me in celebrating Clergy Appreciation Month just a little early!