Ministry got you down? Regain the JOY

According to

    • 50% of ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
    • 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.
    • And 4,000 new churches begin each year while 7,000 churches close.

The statistics speak for themselves
Working in ministry—as a full-time pastor or a lay minister balancing a job and a church—is challenging. Ex-pastors cite 
being overworked, feeling underpaid, feeling unprepared, struggling with depression and discouragement, negative family impact, and loneliness among the top reasons for why they left their pulpits.

In addition, an overwhelming 90% say that ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered it?!

Author of Simple Church and Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Thom S. Rainer, puts it this way in one of his blogs:

My email inbox is full of tragic examples. They entered into vocational ministry with hope and healthy idealism. They had been prepared well in the study of the Bible, theology, Church history, and other classical disciplines. They were bright, eager, and ready to change the world in God’s power.

And they failed.

Let me say it more clearly: From their perspective they failed.

They began leading that first or second church and they were blindsided by what hit them. Some are still walking wounded in ministry today. Some moved quickly to the next church, only to find that you can’t run from messy ministry. Some are still serving, but they are bitter and disillusioned. And too many quit ministry altogether….

But it doesn’t have to be this way
Here is what one pastor recently told Q Place:

I think that many of us go into ministry out of a love for the Lord, a love for people, and a love for Biblical theology. But once in ministry, we realize very quickly that we are responsible for leading and managing an organization. The larger the church, the more the focus of our time moves from doing ministry to leading staff, casting vision, dealing with fundraising, and attending to the myriad demands of organizational life.

While all of those things are important, they often fail to bring that sense of fulfillment that led us into ministry in the first place. It’s sort of like a physician who went into medicine out of a love for people and the art of healing, and winds up spending most of their time running a hospital.

When the bulk of our time is consumed with life within the church-world, how do we find and form meaningful relationships with those outside of that world? After all, isn’t that at least part of what we signed up for?

Q Place has provided me with an outlet for the thing that led me into ministry in the first place— meaningful dialogue with people who are in the process of exploring the claims of Jesus and the dynamics of spiritual engagement.   

I have a spiritual conversation group that meets regularly, and one of our unchurched guys articulated how meaningful our times together are because he has no other forum in his life—anywhere—to discuss issues of spiritual truth. What a privilege to be able to walk with someone who is in that process of genuine exploration! It is humbling, exhilarating, is relationally a blast, and just gets better and better the deeper we go! fun-3

In a micro-world where I am called to manage and measure, this brings me back to utter dependence on the Holy Spirit and the power of both Scripture and testimony. How fun to be in a setting where my greatest temptation is to keep putting my pastor hat back on with its attendant “Shell answer-man” proclivities!  

Often the biggest discouragements of ministry come from the organizational side of the equation, and Q Place helps us balance that in a way that feeds the soul of many a ministry person—myself included—with the opportunity to help engage people in the most important journey of their life, and perhaps even celebrate their entrance into the Kingdom! And I don’t know any better antidote to spiritual ennui than watching a spiritual new birth unfold!

Every person in ministry that I know feels stretched by the demands of life and the work already, but Q Place has given me an enjoyable, realistic approach that can be incorporated into the demanding schedules of my calling.

Quite frankly, it’s become one of the things I look most forward to.

So why not give it a try?
You can restore your purpose and ministry joy by forging relationships with those who don’t yet know Jesus the way you do.

This Christmas, if you’re down in ministry, we encourage you to return to JOY! Give yourself a gift and let Q Place help you discover the new ministry pathway of spiritual conversation—learning from, talking, sharing, and laughing with others who believe differently than you do. It’s a gift that will surely bless you and one that you can also share with the churches you have been called to shepherd.