Struggles common to pastors

By Brian Croft

As I work with pastors all around the world, I am struck by two things: How much pastors are struggling with discouragement and how many think they are alone in their struggle.

Last week, I received an email from a pastor who poured his heart out to me, and in doing so captured well the common struggles so many pastors face. Read this email. Pastors, empathize with his struggles and remember you are not alone in your discouragement.

This discouraged pastor writes:

I am in a really dark place at the moment and feel that I have no friend to talk to and no one I can go to. I am constantly struggling with despondency and discouragement. The church has on average about 30 to 40 people on a Sunday. But my desire for the church to grow is great, and my passion to see souls saved is even greater.

I am pretty much responsible for everything, even though I have tried to raise up other people, but their lack of commitment and faithfulness disqualify them from meaningful ministries.

I feel I am alone when it comes to wanting the church to grow with only three people attending our weekly outreach program. I am constantly organizing events and programs, scheduling revivals and other pastors to come and minister to the church. I just can’t seem to break this despondency, I just don’t seem to have the heart anymore. I am preaching, outreaching, doing what I can, but my heart is just not in it. I found myself questioning whether now is the time to step down and let someone else take over.

I am tired, financially struggling as I work full time, trying to support my family and the church, as others are just not giving at the moment.

I don’t have anyone to talk to and it makes me feel so alone. I am just not the person I was when I opened the church. My wife tries to encourage me and be understanding, but I just don’t want to burden her with all these emotions and feelings all the time.

Pastors, pray for this brother and remember you are not alone. Find a few pastors around you for friendship and support. Other pastors struggle like you and the Chief Shepherd is always with you. That is enough to hold fast!

(This blog originally appeared on Practical Shepherding, Sept. 18, 2015)


Published March 13, 2018

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Brian Croft

Brian Croft is founder and executive director of Practical Shepherding. He is also the senior fellow for the Mathena Center for Church Revitalization at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has written over a dozen books on pastoral ministry. He is married to Cara and they have four children. You can follow him @pastorcroft.