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'Worn Out, Weary, Exhausted': Turning The Tide to Help American Pastors Stay in Their Churches

06-08-2018
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The World Challenge president shares four quick words for pastors who may be facing burnout, emotional exhaustion, and feelings of inadequacy. Watch Gary Lane's interview above to hear Wilkerson's thoughts.

As many as 1700 pastors leave American churches each month. A Barna poll of ministers taken last fall showed more than half (54%) said they sometimes experience mental and emotional exhaustion. 

The poll also found that 45% said sometimes they feel inadequate.

Why do they feel this way, why are they leaving ministry, and what can be done about it?

This week, Times Square Church  hosted its second annual summit for pastors called, Restoring Faith, Renewing Joy. The summit was held at the Summit International School of Ministry, a Bible school started 24-years ago in Grantville, Pennsylvania by the late Rev. David Wilkerson—best-selling author of The Cross and the Switchblade.

 Wilkerson's son Gary is president of World Challenge

a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the Gospel around the world through mission outreaches and conferences.      

So, why a summit for pastors? 

"We wanted to help turn this tide…some of them are worn out, weary, exhausted. That's not to say there's not a lot that don't have great vision and great hope for the future, but we want to make sure that happens," said Wilkerson.

 "And every minister should wake up every morning with the joy of the Lord as his strength, her strength and see God do some great things in their life," he explained.  

Appearing on the CBN News program, The Global Lane, Wilkerson said pastors are leaving their churches because many are burned out. Many are working fourteen, sixteen hours a day and find little time to spend with their children and family. Also, many have grown weary of dealing with conflict between church members. 

"They're just tired of dealing with difficulty here in America. There's a very strong consumer mentality and pastors are saying if they tell the truth to somebody, those people just say 'hey, there's a good church down the road a half mile. I'll just go there instead' and that's so frustrating."

Wilkerson said the vision church members have for the pastor is a tragedy.

"Pastors are viewed as somebody who is supposed to be able to handle everything personally and have no personal problems or issues in their own soul that need to be nourished, strengthened and transformed."

And the expectations on pastors are high. They are expected to attend every event, every graduation. It's difficult in smaller churches that have fewer staff members to share ministry outreach. But Wilkerson says pastors face different difficulties in larger churches. They have more members and staff, but they are required to be "almost like a CEO of a corporation with all these executive skills moving beyond some of the basic Biblical pastoral skills."

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