How hypocrisy in our approach to ministry fries pastors …

More than 1,500 pastors quit the ministry every month.

They’re fried!

They’ve been overworked. They’ve had a ridiculous amount of unreasonable expectations piled upon them. Often they were expected to do the majority of the work of the church themselves. They were pushed more than a person should be, and they finally quit.

We can’t continue to do that.

We talk about pastors having to delegate to other staff, but a lot of churches don’t have “other staff.” We talk about the ministry of all believers, and how we all have to roll up our sleeves and shoulder the responsibility of ministry.

But then we do this …

When we talk about men’s ministry, we insist the pastor must also be involved (I just finished reading a book about how to start a men’s ministry, which insisted on the pastor being involved — most such books insist on this) …

When we talk about women’s ministry, we talk about the pastor must provide his support …

When we talk about the ministry of mission, we insist the pastor be involved …

When we talk about small groups, we talk about the pastor must provide some leadership …

When we talk about Christian education, we talk about how the pastor must provide his enthusiastic support …

Do you see the trend here?

We claim to understand the fact that we expect far too much from a single man, yet when we describe how to build any ministry within the church we still insist that it must have some involvement and some direct support of the pastor himself!

We cannot have it both ways!

It does not have to be true that the pastor has to be directly involved in every ministry in the church. Other staff, as well as elders, deacons, and other leaders in the church can be given responsibility for areas of ministry, and that responsibility can be left with them. Yes, the pastor has to have an awareness of what’s going on with all the ministries, and may need to sign off on their mission and strategy, but the real work of ministries in the church can — and should! — be carried out by many other people other than the pastor.

Many people will say that it is necessary that the pastor at least publicly demonstrate his support for all of the ministries of the church. While it is possible for that to be done in simple ways that don’t overwhelm a pastor, it cannot be reasonably expected that the pastor be the “salesman” and driving force for promoting and/or leading each ministry. If every ministry requires the voice of the pastor in order to recruit and be effective, that church has built its reliance upon a single man. Other leaders need to have as much credibility as the pastor, especially those men serving as elders.

If we continue to stack the initial success of all the church does onto the shoulders of pastors, we’ll continue to misuse, abuse, and fry them and they will continue to leave the church in droves.

Is your church depending too much on your pastor? How can other leaders step up and take real responsibility for leadership within the church? Does your church really practice the concept of the “ministry of all believers?” If your pastor wasn’t doing the promoting, how successful would the ministries in your church be? What are YOU doing to serve in a ministry and directly contribute to its success?

Scotty