The Isolated Pastor: Pastors In Isolation
I was on the phone with pastor Fred. “Rusty I have to cancel our meeting today because I need to take care of an important issue.” “Oh really,” I stated over the phone, “what are you up to, is there anything I can do to help?” “Well, don’t tell anyone, but between you and me I need to go to the emergency room.” “What!” I exclaimed, “Pastor Fred what is going on! Please tell me.” “Well, I’ve been having some chest pains and I think I need to get it checked out, please don’t tell anyone I don’t want them to worry about me.” “I won’t pastor, but who is taking you to the emergency room?” “No one,” he told me.
Just recounting this story makes me sad inside. I took pastor Fred to the emergency room that day and sat in the waiting room, waiting for him until he came out. The good news is that pastor Fred checked out ok. He was simply under a lot of stress and needed to watch his diet and make sure he was exercising. But the surprising factor to me was that this pastor didn’t have anyone to confide in, no one to take him to the emergency room and didn’t want anyone else to know about what he was going through. This, I’m sure of it, is the same story for many pastors all over the world.
A recent survey said that 70% of ministers report they do not have one close friend to whom they can confide. Many pastors end up leaving the ministry because of feeling all alone. Many have a vision, but the congregation does not. Other times a pastor that has been in ministry a long time can lose his passion or vision relating to his calling over time.
Maybe you are a pastor reading this, I would like to encourage you with a few words. God has not called pastors do be isolated, alone or by themselves. God never designed the church to be under one man leadership, but instead led by a plurality of leaders. This is a healthy pattern of leadership shown to us in the scriptures. Having other brothers who you can confide in, pray with and take counsel from can defeat those feelings of isolation and loneliness in ministry. You might be in a position where you cannot make drastic changes to church government at this time, but I encourage you to find trustworthy, anointed leaders in your congregation and begin to spend time with them for your own sake. Remember to get rest, recreation and fun outside of spiritual matters and church related issues. Pastors are people too! God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your ministry and life.
If you are not a pastor, but a friend to one I would encourage you to become a supporter of your pastor. Cheer him on in his preaching. Write him a note or send a card telling him how he has impacted your life…and don’t forget to put a twenty dollar bill in there either! Instead of your pastor always checking up on you, why don’t you check up on your pastor? Pray with him, ask him about his family. Make sure that you pray for your leaders on a regular basis.
If you are a pastor, elder or church leader who could use some prayer, conversation or someone to bounce ideas off of, I would love to give you my ear and offer up words of encouragement and fresh insight. Sometimes all you need is a word from God that will propel you forward to continue. One word from God can totally revamp and change your life forever as it has mine. Contact us by phone, Skype or Facebook.