Why Young Pastors are leaving the Ministry?
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Why Young Pastors are leaving the Ministry?

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Saw the following article and thought to post here for discussion as well:

There is an epidemic occurring right under the nose of church middle judicatories and no one seems to notice. Young pastors (less than five years in the ministry) are leaving in droves. The Lilly Foundation has poured millions of dollars into “Sustaining Pastoral Ministry” initiatives and it’s too soon to tell whether or not their approach is working. Aside from the obvious reasons pastors leave the ministry (sexual impropriety, financial mismanagement, and marital dissolution) here are the top ten reasons why young pastors call it quits:

1. The discontinuity between what they imagined ministry to be and what it actually is is too great.

2. A life without weekends sucks.

3. The pay is too low (most pastors in my denomination make less money than a school teacher with five years experience).

4. They are tired of driving ten year old cars while their congregations trade in their cars every two years.

5. Many young pastors are called into difficult congregations that chew pastors up and spit them out because experienced pastors know better.

6. Even though the search committee told them they wanted to reach young people, they didn’t really mean it.

7. When the pastor asked the search committee if they were an “emergent church”, the members of the search committee thought he said “divergent church” and agreed.

8. Nobody told the young pastor that cleaning the toilets was part of the job description.

9. The young pastor’s student loans came due and the amount of money he/she owes on a monthly basis exceeds his/her income.

10. Working at McDonalds has alot less stress.

Why do you think young pastors are leaving in the ministry in droves?

5 Responses to “Why Young Pastors are leaving the Ministry?

  1. Anonymous Anonymous 


    that is pretty disturbing, but i can relate to it.

    i think for most ppl the pressure is just too much.

    * low pay

    * a lower level of respect due to their age vs. the age of their chruch members. this creates unbelievable tension on all sides.

    * the pressure of coming up with something on a weekly basis that is going to not only change a life, but impact one is something that lots of folks can't deal with.

    * not enough money

    * trying to balance "fixing" everyone else's life and run your own house is overwhelming.

    * not even close to enough prayer support

    * the pay usually sucks

    * tired of the ppl "not getting it"

    * church politics is something that cannot be really grasped until you're "in". once one you're "in", it surrounds you.

    * you realize that the church is a place where everyone has great ideas but will not help impliment any of them - THAT'S YOUR JOB

    * crummy pay

    * you realize that the church is full of ppl who love to bring their ideas that DIDN'T work in the business world into the church where they wont work either. then when you dont move on their idea, they get pi$$ed off and leave.

    * you get tired of hearing that ppl aren't "being fed". these are the same ppl who's bibles are STILL collecting dust as we speak

    * you thought you got hired to inspire and motivate ppl on in their walk with God, but you find ouit that the committee decides all of that for you....you just dress up pretty and figure out how to get more ppl in the door

    * you realize you havent really seen those ppl in the picture frame that sits on your desk in months

    * and once all of this piles up, you realize that the jerks you grew up with are doing way better than you financially while doing their own thing, so you say, "to hell with it...if being broke, having no free time, and being miserble is what serving the Lord means, i'm out!"

    that's just to name a few

  2. Anonymous Anonymous 

    oh yeah. forgot to leave my name


  3. Blogger Brian Eberly 

    My heart sinks as I read these lists. It breaks my heart that they are so true in so many churches.

    These lists demonstrate yet one more reason the youth ministry in the church MUST NOT allow itself to become merely a para-church type of ministry.

    To often youth ministry becomes an entity all of it's own as opposed to being a part of the whole of the church. When this happens the divide grows along with it, disappointment, lack of understanding and respect, lack of support, etc.

    The church must see youth ministy as important as any other ministry within the church, especially when 85% of people who come to faith in Jesus do so before they are 18 years old. The church must value, honor, support, as well as pay well, those giving their lives to understaning students and ministering to them.

  4. Blogger J-Wild 

    The other side of the coin...

    1. YM (especially young ones) often have a vaulted sense of their own importance, knowledge, and impact.

    2. Our profession isn't appreciated like "real jobs" because many of us roll into work around 10:00 am and present ourselves as big kids instead of competent adults.

    3. We come back to the church late, change plans often, and plan things according to our schedules instead of thinking about our students families.

    4. We over emphazise how much fun we had at an event instead of how much of a difference the event made.

    5. We hold ourselves to a low intellectual standard.

    6. We begin our ministries without thinking or planning for the long-term.

    7. We crave approval too much.

    8. We don't articulate a clear vision for ministry to our parents and Elders or often enough.

    9. We're lone rangers.

    10. We don't balance our family and church time well.

    This is a list that I came up with by just analyzing my own shortcomings over the last eight years. There is a lot more churches, parents, and teens can do to support us. However, the only thing we have control of for sure is ourselves.

    To be sure Churches can chew and spit out YM like nothing else. But sometimes I am not always convinced that YM who are starting out are equipped with the right theological and social skills to make it in for the long term.

    I would like to get paid more though!

  5. Anonymous J-Dawg 

    Sometimes the Senior Pastor can be a royal jerk, and use you for his gain.

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