There is an epidemic of burnout among pastors today. Amidst a clergy shortage, political and social divisions, and a post-pandemic world, a cloud of cynical fatigue is hanging over many church workers. How do we retain our zeal for ministering to God's people nonetheless?
Sally felt like she was drowning. She was in her tenth month of service as the chairperson of the Board for Congregational Service at St. James Church. It seemed that the responsibilities of her position were overwhelming her. She was asked to assume this leadership role because she had been an active volunteer at the church. The nominating board recognized her to be a true servant, so they assumed she’d do a fine job leading the Board for Congregational Service.
Sally had agreed to the nomination with some trepidation and was elected to the position. But she had no leadership experience before this election. And her gifts and skills were not oriented toward leadership. She thrived in doing hands-on service but floundered at the task of leading and managing other members of the board. Moreover, she was dropped into the chairperson position without any training. As a result, the six members of the Board for Congregational Service were frustrated, and Sally was flustered.
I never wanted to marry into the ministry.
There. I said it. Whew.
The life that corresponds to marrying a church worker—whether pastor, chaplain, missionary, or so on—is messy and difficult. There’s no way around that. It would take a very noble specimen of humanity to seek out a life that features extra helpings of flaming devil-darts and inevitable family struggle—to say nothing of the fact that it’s a life very much on display to those served by one’s spouse’s work. But that’s exactly what it is. And people do sign up for it.
Did you know that October is Pastor Appreciation Month? Pastors do so much more for us besides leading services on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings. They are a major part of a believer’s life and the life of the Church. Pastors spend years studying to help preach God’s Word accurately and passionately. For all the work that pastors do—long hours spent visiting the sick and dying, counseling the troubled and distressed, teaching classes of all kinds to all ages—it seems appropriate to offer them our thanks and appreciation.
Call Day is roughly three months away. Placement interviews on campus are done, interviews between churches and seminarians are underway, and graduating students and their spouses at Concordia Seminary are filled with anxious excitement.