A web site for pastors who are hurting, pastors who are thinking of quitting, and pastors who have quit the ministry.

frus·tra·tion n: the result of expectations exceeding reality.


The intention is to describe aspects of ministry that are not often recognized or presented that can provide a broader understanding of the dynamics of ministry to explain how and why this can be one of the most challenging jobs there is.

I set this web site up to be able to share my perspectives and offer counsel to those who have suffered the "slings and arrows of outrageous" ministry (to borrow from Shakespeare).

I am taking a personal approach to this ministry because I see one of the many problems that besiege Christianity today is the impoverishment of relationships. For that reason I wish to be available to any who feel that correspondence could be helpful.

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The Arc of Human Development



There are many books written on child growth and development some of which can actually be useful. However, while seeming basic, it can be useful to take a look at a broader view of human development that can have particular interest for those who have chosen a pastoral path.

Of particular interest are the young adult years (18-25). The wide-eyed enthusiasm and idealism at this age has easily been exploited in a number of ways. Consider the many waves of recruitment of this cohort to fight in distant wars. Secular collegiate indoctrination has made great use of this vulnerable age to provide the coup de gras in removing Christianity from young people and replacing it with the religion of secularism (the worship of man in general and self in particular).

One can observe from various ten year high school reunions that young people are trying to impress others with the achievements, positions, wealth, or other measures of “success”. This is in contrast to the twenty year reunions where many have succumbed to the humility life’s problems can bring and have come to see the foolishness of their younger selves.

From these two examples, one can plot a development arc from age 28 to 38. However, adult development is not so much predicated on biology as child development is (like the development of abstract thinking around age 13). While consideration has to be given to the biological process of aging, development for the adult is more a result of either pursuit or environmental encounters. It has been said that if you do not learn from the experiences of others, you will have to learn from your own. This can occasionally be painful.

The “pursuit” approach to development consist of those things chosen by an individual to help him learn like classes taken, instruction sought, and inquires made. The environmental approach can often result from exposure to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Things like parenthood often drive out much of the native selfishness we often bring with us from childhood.

Old age can bring a conservatism borne from experiences of how often and how bad things can go wrong. Youth can bring a spirit of adventurism, boldness and even recklessness. Being able to keep a sweeping perspective of human development can be useful as a background to examine one’s own life, particularly from a diagnostic perspective.

For some the pastoral path is a perfect fit. Sadly, some for whom it is not a good fit convince themselves through cognitive dissonance that it is a good fit. Those who are pleased with their path will probably not find their way to this site. As a result, a focus will be made on those for whom the pastoral path is a problem.

A person can be propelled on a pastoral path with parental approval and encouragement. One can continue with youthful optimism and enthusiasm and only when working in the field begin to see that this path may not be a good fit for him. This awareness may be delayed because of attribution to various unique personalities, assignments, or other conditions that can be seen as problems that need to be managed, accepted, or overcome.

For some the amount of time (percent of lifetime arc) invested in training (bible college, seminary, graduate studies, and internships) can represent such an huge investment that it can be difficult to consider any alternative and that they need to “soldier on”.

Once when taking an employment physical the examining doctor who had noticed on the form that my father was a doctor, asked if I didn’t mind to tell him why I decided not to become a doctor. He said his own kids were reluctant to tell him. I told him that we knew the difference between “being a doctor” (said with awe and a reverential voice) and “being a doctor” (said with a cold pragmatic voice). He said he could understand that.

Those who grew up in a home where the father was not a pastor may not have had a realistic idea of what the job would entail. As a result, only when the reality begins to set in may he discover that he may have wished to follow a different path.