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.
There are a variety of human qualities that combine to make each person unique. Some qualities make one person better suited to ministry that another. We can see this in the bible with the qualification “apt to teach”. I once had a conversation with the head of a mission board and asked him how long it took missionaries to go through deputation (fund raising). He said a “real go getter” could do it in 18 months. I thought it was interesting that he used that term to describe the quality that he saw as “successful”.
I asked a friend once who taught in a seminary, after observing some of the students, what percentage of the students were squirrels (had personality problems). He said he thought is was around 20%. I said from my observations it was perhaps double that. I asked him if he didn’t feel guilty failing to help those students who were so unsuited to even a functioning life much less the ministry. He said that they were only able to address classroom issues and that anything else was the purview of their sending or local church body.
A person can be ambitious, extrovert, and a hail and well met fellow back-slapping and joking with all. This sort of person does well and is often drawn to larger churches because he can keep a large number of people feeling good. A problem can emerge over time if there is a disconnect of the actual person from the persona.
A more introverted or studious person inclined to measure what they say can be seen as lacking the ability to “take charge”. In a church marketplace where a contemporary value is placed on enthusiasm and zeal, a person unable to inject passion and emotion into a presentation can be seen as deficient.
One would think that personality deficits like anger, bullying, and arrogance would limit the employment opportunities for those so inclined, but often they rise to influential positions because their deficits are seen as strengths. Often those who can make stark declarative statements create an environment certainty from which many can derive a feeling of comfort.
The match between church and pastor can also reveal personalities that match or frustrate each other. For example a pastor may have a passion for the church members to become interested in their own spiritual growth, but the church members may prefer something less ambitious. A pastor may feel invigorated with the politics of seemingly endless committee meetings, while another pastor might find the same type meetings soul draining.
A pastor may be inclined towards introspection and feel hurt by criticial comments about his dress, deportment, or family. This can build to resentment. If a church has outspoken and critical members, a pastor with thick skin will be essential. It can be tricky to determine what should be sloughed off and what should be addressed.
A pastor may feel that a particular church is a poor match to his personality only to discover after several churches that it may be that it is a career to which he is not well suited.