This morning I addressed 250 ministry leaders, including pastors, youth ministers and volunteers. I shared some very unsettling news with them about their calling and vocation. As I've researched what causes pastoral burnout, my findings have caused me to re-consider many aspects of what I do and how I do it. Here's a short list of some of the most frightening things I've found.
13% of active pastors are divorced.
23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.
25% don't know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
25% of pastors' wives see their husband's work schedule as a source of conflict.
33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
45% of pastors' wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.
45% of pastors say that they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family's well-being and health.
56% of pastors' wives say that they have no close friends.
57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.
70% don't have any close friends.
75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.
80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
90% feel unqualified or poorly prepared for ministry.
90% work more than 50 hours a week.
94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.
1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.
Doctors, lawyers and clergy have the most problems with drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide. FULL POST
Posted 10/30/14 at 11:29 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
“And it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a certain slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortunetelling….” (Acts 16:16)
Some culture writers and half-serious columnists do it for fun, giving forecasts on life in the future. Some, like meteorologists, work at it seriously to protect human lives. It helps to know the hurricane in the Caribbean may be headed our way or that the tornado season is upon us.
But then, there are those strange individuals who believe they are endowed with supernatural gifts of prophecy and fortune-telling.
If you have such a talent, I have a word for you.
Give it back.
Recently, I came across an article from Newsweek of January 1, 2000, reporting on a prediction from 98 years earlier. In the 1902 Atlantic Monthly, economist John Bates Clark had written a piece called “Looking Back on the 20th Century.” Mr. Clark looked at the year 2000 and concluded we would be seeing….
–strawberries the size of apples and oranges growing in Philadelphia.
–Moving sidewalks through pneumatic tubes in order to transport people FULL POST
Posted 10/29/14 at 11:51 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By David Murray
Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research have just published the results of a survey that measured Americans’ theological knowledge. The aim was to “help to point out common gaps in theological knowledge and awareness so that Christians might be more effective in the proclamation, teaching, and defense of the essential truths of the Christian faith.”
I’m deeply grateful to these Christian organizations for funding and carrying out this research. It’s true, there are some discouraging findings; but I was surprisingly encouraged by some of the results. First, though, the bad news, in three particular areas: FULL POST
Posted 10/29/14 at 11:47 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Many people believe this life is all there is. Their philosophy? “You only go around once on this earth, so grab for whatever you can.”
If you’re a child of God, you do not just “go around once” on Earth. You don’t get just one earthly life. You get another—one far better and without end. You’ll inhabit the New Earth! You’ll live with the God you cherish and the people you love as an undying person on an undying Earth. Those who reject God and go to Hell are the ones who go around only once on this earth.
Consider the expression YOLO: “you only live once.” It rightly recognizes you will die, but assumes that you will never live again after you die. The Good News is radically different. Christ’s promise is not YOLO, but that those who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). The gospel has power that not only affects this life, but transcends it. FULL POST
Posted 10/29/14 at 11:42 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Excited to announce that my new book “CARRYING GREATNESS” is scheduled to be released early next year! So honored that Sheila Walsh - speaker with “WOMEN OF FAITH” and my buddy, Dave Sterrett of “I AM SECOND” both agreed to write endorsements for the book. Go God!
One of the early chapters in the book, I share about Elizabeth and Mary both pregnant with baby boys named with a “J.” One is John and other is Jesus. One is a Baptist in the making and other is Savior for the taking. Both women in their womb are carrying boys whom will grow up to men whom God will use to change the world. Talk about “Boys to Men” these were the originals!
Both women knew intimately the pain of isolation and rejection. These sisters in Christ would certainly be keynote speakers at future “Women of Faith” events. They knew faith, fear but favor all rolled into one and found their Heavenly Father faithful. Their test today became their TESTimony tomorrow! One was too old to get pregnant and the other was too young. One tried for decades while married and couldn’t produce and the other not married, never tried and did get pregnant! Both women were “carrying greatness” and Mary was the first to carry the Gospel. In those first nine months and a year or two after His birth, she didn’t just carry greatness or the Gospel but God! Elizabeth and Mary were cousins and when the younger (Mary) came to visit the Bible notes something spectacular happened. Picture two women with protruding bellies and when Mary walked in the room and spoke the baby (John) in Elizabeth’s belly jumped! Why? FULL POST