Missionary/Pastor to Pastors – Why Is It Needed?

One of the last sermons I preached before I stepped away from the church I started

In October 2018, I began reaching out to pastors. I was coming out of a season of burnout and depression after giving nearly two years to the church I started. Because of that, I knew other pastors and ministry leaders were experiencing what I was on varying levels. I didn’t want them to walk the road alone, so I started sending messages to the ones I knew, asking them how I could pray for them. The responses confirmed what I already knew. In my heart, I knew I wanted to minister to those in ministry.

Why would this be a necessary ministry? Don’t pastors and Christian leaders have homies they hang with all the time (gotta love the word choice😂)? Often, the answer is no. Ministry leaders are often competitive and are out to have the biggest church. But that’s not the main problem! Many pastors feel they trust anyone. What if they were vulnerable and talked about their real struggles? They are expected to minister to the world, but who will minister to them.

Here are a few quotes I think will help solidify the need:

“…everyone comes to me for pastoral care and advice, even my extended family and friends. Who does the pastor get to go to. Yes, God, but God has given us brothers in the ministry to lean on and hold us accountable and hear confession/offer absolution.”

“I believe that every pastor should have a pastor. We as pastors are human. We sin, we fall short, we feel discouraged, and we carry many burdens of others. It’s heathy for a pastor to ‘unload,’and be pastored along the way.”

“When I was just a church member, I had guidance, advice, empathy, understanding, biblical training and edification from my pastor. Now that I’m pastor, I dont have that any more. I give that to others, but I have nowhere to turn for my own needs.”

Here are some poll results I gathered:

I asked this question, to which 90 pastors answered: Pastors, do you have someone (humanly speaking) to talk to about the deep things on your heart and the issues that arise in your ministry? Someone you can trust and completely be yourself with? Thirty-nine percent said, “No”.

I also asked this question, to which 31 pastors answered: Pastors, if you needed/desired counseling, would you be able to afford it financially? Seventy-one percent said, “No”.

Look at these statistics from pastoralcareinc.com:

  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.
  • 65% of pastors feel their family lives in a “glass house” and fear they are not good enough to meet 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.
  • Moral values of a Christian are no different than those who consider themselves as non-Christians.
  • The average American will tell 23 lies a day.
  • 57% of pastors believe they do not receive a livable wage.
  • 57% of pastors being unable to pay their bills.
  • 53% of pastors are concerned about their future family financial security.
  • 75% of pastors report significant stress-relatedcrisis at least once in their ministry.
  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once in the last year.
  • 35% of pastors battle depression or fear of inadequacy.
  • 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider to be a close friend.
  • 27% of pastors report not having anyone to turn to for help in a crisis situation.
  • 34% of pastors wrestle with the temptation of pornography or visits pornographic sites.
  • 84% of pastors desire to have close fellowhip with someone they can trust and confide with.
  • 1 out of every 10 pastors will actually retire as a pastor.

Sarah Eekhod Zylstra wrote, “More than half of pastors have counseled people who were later diagnosed with a mental illness (59 percent), and about a quarter say they’ve experienced some type of mental illness themselves (23 percent). According to LifeWay, 12 percent have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.”

Our state of South Carolina has led the nation in pastoral suicides for quite a few years. The need for ministry to pastors is great!

I have been both on the side of looking to a pastor for spiritual direction and being the pastor who provides spiritual direction. It’s a tough place to be. With these realities stated here, pastors need pastors too. That is why I became a Shepherd with Standing Stone.

Standing Stone provides confidential care to lead pastors, associates of sorts (discipleship, executive, worship, student, etc.), leaders of parachurch organizations, missionaries, etc. We understand that healthy pastors lead healthy churches. That health includes physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health.

If you would like to find out more about this kind of ministry, please reach out to me at Matthew.w@standingstoneministry.org.

24 thoughts on “Missionary/Pastor to Pastors – Why Is It Needed?

  1. This I exactly why Anne S White started Victorious Ministry through Christ in the 1970’s. God led her and taught her for many years before this came about. Initially it was specifically for pastors and their wives. It is now available to all who desire a confidential time of deliverance and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was good! Glad to hear that you are using your difficult experiences to minister to others who are walking the same path that you have walked. I saw something about South Carolina in what you wrote. My family and I live in SC, in the upstate.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Matthew, we are in Rock Hill, not far from Charlotte, NC. We lived in Greenville (Mauldin), SC, for 6 years before moving to Rock Hill in 1995. So, we are very familiar with that area.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Matthew, I just read back over what you wrote here. I believe that one of the biggest reasons why these things you have stated here are the case is because the church, as a whole, has moved away from God’s design and purpose for the church. In Ephesians 4 and in 1 Corinthians 12, in particular, plus in Acts (one of the early chapters) we have modeled for us what the church is supposed to look like and how it is supposed to function. There shouldn’t be just one pastor of a church who takes everything on his shoulders. We are a body, and each of us has a part, and all the parts are necessary to the proper functioning of the body.

    The pastor shouldn’t be the only one preaching the messages or counseling people or visiting the sick but he should be the one equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry so that the body won’t be all lopsided. But, when the pastor is expected to do everything ministerial within the body of Christ to meet all of their needs, then that is when you get burnout and that is when their families are impacted. This is why there should be elders within the church to help carry those burdens. One man should never be expected to carry that whole load. That is not how God set up his church, his body, to function.

    We all need to work together, and we are all supposed to be encouraging one another, and building one another up in the faith, but today’s modern churches don’t make room for that, for one man shouldn’t be the only one sharing a Word from the Word. It should be more like it is on here, on WordPress. I gain so much from reading not just one person’s blog, but from hearing how God is working in many people’s lives. We all have something to share. The church needs to let other voices be heard and for others to encourage and build up the body in their faith and then all that pressure will not be on one man. And, if we all have a voice, and if we all are able to encourage one another, then pastors shouldn’t get so discouraged because they aren’t the only one giving the messages and they are able to receive from others within their congregations words from God which can encourage their hearts and help them to grow. So, the church needs to be more like WordPress where all the body can minister to one another.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed! The mentality in many churches is to hire someone to do the dirty work. Heath Lambert, pastor of FBC Jacksonville, FL has had to acknowledge some tough things about the church there. Their church has 200 staff members when industry standard is 40. A consultant told him that the sign of a dying church is when it hires people to do what volunteers can do.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly! The pastor(s) need to be equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry, not carrying the whole burden themselves. So, the whole mindset of the church needs to change.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! And, wasn’t there a picture of Moses holding his arms up so they could win a battle? But, when his arms grew tired and fell, they began to lose the battle, and so he had to have others hold up his arms so that they could win? Was that Moses?

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Walking Wounded and commented:
    Pastor Matthew has begun a new blog, Wounded Yet Healed. And, he has begun a new ministry to minister to the needs of pastors of churches. Pastors get wounded and they need to be encouraged, too. Thank you, Matthew, for listening to the Lord, and for reaching out to help meet the emotional and spiritual needs of pastors.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Churches just seem to be institutions, organisations or clubs like any other with no particular redeeming features. It is obvious that the model doesn’t work that well. The kingdom of God is within individuals. Tony

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I absolutely adore this post! I’m not a pastor, but I do have a couple of favorites leading my church (Northbrook in Richfield, WI). I commented to my husband that this line of thinking reminded me of Job. When he’s at his poorest, sickest, and weakest, his friends are there ministering to him. It would seem that those of us who’re expected to live at a higher moral capacity would be especially more likely to need a listening ear. I absolutely appreciate what you’re doing and encourage you to keep sharing your experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

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