In my counseling center we minister to people from all denominations, walks of life and vocations. They come in for many reasons but below are the five main issues I see in pastors and ministry leaders. They struggle with the same issues as the people they lead or pastor. I’ll also offer my perspective on why these issues typically occur.
- Marital Problems.God has an alignment for our priorities and it should be Him, spouse, family and ministry/vocation in that order. Some people in ministry, especially if there have been problems brewing on the home front, are able to rationalize focusing more time and energy on what they perceive to be God’s work and problems invariably arise.
- Family Problems.As with marital problems mentioned above, a leader’s family can suffer if they are ignored in lieu of time spent on ministry. Sadly, I’ve seen some children sadly disillusioned by what they perceive as hypocrisy and problems in the church and this begins to shipwreck their own faith. Plus, pastor’s children are often under a microscope and unrealistic boundaries and expectations can create problems.
- Burnout.We live in a season when everyone is trying to do more with less. Constrained financial resources, people issues and general pressures of ministry, coupled with and overdependence on self, can lead to near breakdowns. For many, it is easier to preach and teach about depending upon God, entering the Sabbath rest, and having God’s peace than it is to appropriate it in their own lives.
- Lust/Pornography.Pastors often spend a lot of time alone in front of their computer preparing teachings and sermons. Pornography is a societal issue and the demonic realm launches a frontal assault on all men (primarily) in this area and the destruction can be devastating. This assault, couples with the lust of the flesh, often leads many astray and into bondage.
- Infidelity. Pornography and lust issues at the extreme can lead to infidelity if not dealt with. Pastors are authority figures and hopefully portray a godly picture to their flocks and others. One of the job requirements is typically counseling or ministering to followers. Once again, the demonic kingdom is good at bringing needy people across the man of God’s path. If there are marriage issues working, and the counselee responds to having someone listen attentively and connect with them emotionally, then the progression can become ungodly and destructive.
There are other issues of course but I have seen these repeatedly over the years. Pastors and ministry leaders are called to help people and, as with any other person, things need to be in alignment and in order. We see many powerful and influential people who stumble along the way and we should be saddened but not necessarily surprised to see it God’s church. We may not expect it there but when it happens it is a poignant reminder that the great treasure is inside earthen vessels!
I have a special love and desire to help pastors and ministry leaders. They have a special calling and it is a blessing to be able to help them hopefully get restored and back in alignment with God’s plan for them, their family and ministry.