As you may know, October is a month set aside across the United States to honor those who are serving in the pastoral leadership ministry.
I am offering this post as a source of information for congregations to ponder and for pastors to ingest. PLEASE DO SOMETHING SPECIAL IN OCTOBER TO HONOR YOUR UNDERSHEPHERD.
According to a 1992 survey that was published in a prominent journal, the pastoral family has some unique challenges. When giving reasons for divorce among pastors, note the statistics from “Is the Pastor’s Family Safe at Home?,” by David Goetz:
81% insufficient time together
71% use of money
70% income level
64% communication difficulties
64% congregational expectations
57% differences over use of leisure
53% difficulty in raising children
46% sexual problems
41% pastor’s anger toward spouse
35% differences over ministry career
25% differences over spouse’s career
As you can clearly see, the pastor’s family faces the same pressures of other families, however, living in the parsonage and serving in the pastoral role also has some other “distinct” pressures. In the book Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry by John MacArthur, JR, and the Master’s Seminary Faculty [pp. 152-153] ten distinct pressure points are listed;
1. The pastor engages in the humanly impossible-dealing with sin in people’s lives.
2. The pastor fills a never-ending role-ending role-solving one problem only to be face with multiplied more.
3. The pastor serves with increasingly questioned credibility in the eyes of society.
4. The pastor remains on call 168 hours each week.
5. The pastor is expected to perform excellently with the widest range of skills-to be at any given time a scholar, visionary, communicator, administrator, consoler, leader, financier, diplomat, perfect example, counselor, and peacemaker.
6. The pastor is expected to produce riveting and life-changing messages at least twice weekly, fifty-two Sundays a year.
7. The pastor’s work brigade is usually a volunteer force, not paid help.
8. The pastor and his family seem to live in a fishbowl where everyone can watch.
9. The pastor is often underpaid, underappreciated, under refreshed, and overworked.
10. As a public figure, the pastor can receive the harshest criticism from both the community and the congregation.
As you can see, these are very special people of deserve our attention, love and support.