Pastors Leaving Ministry

Pastors Leaving Ministry and Pastor Appreciation

For years it has been reported that there is an exodus of pastors from their church positions. As one who has been in pastoral ministry myself, I have a keen interest in this topic.

Perhaps you like me have wondered if there is there any relationship of pastors leaving ministry with lack of pastor appreciation by the churches they serve?

While my answer is not based on any scientific study, I do believe that feeling appreciated is key to any employment relationship.  And from personal experience I have appreciated being appreciated in the the jobs I have had and in the churches I have served.

Exploring Pastor Exodus With The Lack Of Pastor Appreciation

The relationship of pastors leaving ministry to a lack of pastor appreciation should be explored, especially if the pastors quitting churches each month do so because of the treatment they received by their churches.

Most of us are concerned when we hear the number of pastors reportedly leaving ministry is said to be as many as 1500 per month. That number has been disputed and so let's say the number is much less, even 1 per month. What would cause a pastor exodus of any number to take place?

Personally, after over 4 decades in ministry, I believe that lack of churches expressing pastor appreciation is a key factor in a pastor's decision to leave the ministry.

My hope is that the term pastors leaving ministry term be reframed to mean pastors expanding ministry if the decision for a pastor changing careers leads to purposeful employment whereby one can still share the love of God with hurting people.

Whether they are leaving senior pastor jobs or youth pastor jobs, the great concern for churches is that there are pastors quitting their churches.

Expressing Pastor Appreciation In Light Of Pastors Leaving Ministry

I share these concerns about pastors leaving church assignments to reveal the necessity for churches to express pastor appreciation.

Why are pastors leaving ministry? I heard various reasons a pastor may feel like quitting ministry and discouragement is the most common given my pastors leaving ministry .

Why are pastors discouraged in ministry? While most Christians face discouragement, pastors feeling discouragement is more common and experienced at a deeper level than many lay people realize.

Churches need to realize pastors are under Satanic attack. When criticism of pastors and the sin of griping and grumbling is added, often by well meaning church leaders, the discouraged pastor will often decide to leave ministry, if nothing more, to experience heartfelt appreciation in another assignment.

(As a professional chaplain, I personally have felt much more appreciated for my ministry efforts by secular employers than I did by some of the churches I served).

Replace Criticism With Words Of Encouragement 

Pastor appreciation champions understand how encouraging is to the discouraged pastor when words of encouragement to the pastor replace criticism of the pastor.

If you are wondering how to express words of encouragement, explore the pastor appreciation ideas both here and on other websites with a pastor appreciation theme.

Perhaps a better idea is to ask yourself this question: "What is it that encourages me when I am discouraged?"

Your pastor is no different so become creative in how you express yourself in lifting the spirit of your spiritual shepherd. 

Encouragement Ideas for Your Pastor

  • A carefully worded note or card, written to uplift, is always appreciated.  
  • A gift card goes a long way in encouraging your pastor.
  • An invitation to a meal is a great way to express love and support.
  • A get-a-way vacation provides rest and opportunity to re-charge.