This is the final installment reflecting on how the Mission of God is fairing in our U.S. churches along with the pastors who lead it!
Our first post in the series looked at the pastoral post-Covid reality.
Our second post considered that reality and its impact on the mission of God.
Today, I’d like to reflect further on the increasing sense of isolation pastors are experiencing and the decreasing sense of support (which we looked at last week) noted by the Resilient Pastor data reported by Barna!
Personal Practices of Pastors
Regarding personal practices, pastors self report:
44% practice weekly sabbath.
77% spend quality time with their children on a weekly basis.
24% go on a date with their spouse on a weekly basis.
As I listen in the PLI family and in the larger clergy world, and consider my own experience—all quite subjective—this is what I’m thinking today:
Sabbath—possibly interpreted as “the day off”—is deeply instilled in clergy cultures.
Many, many pastors have silently resolved to spend quality time with their growing children, although maybe not as frequently as this might suggest.
Sadly, cultivating the marriage relationship in clergy culture too frequently takes a back seat. And if my older, maybe wiser, self might tell my younger self: “You shouldn’t be making this mistake!”
Pleasing parishioners, searching for success or significance in performance, lackadaisicalness… all get a higher priority in too many clergy minds than caring for the spousal relationship!
It’s critical to the PLI values that there’s great benefit when wives and husbands learn together! They learn and benefit. The congregation ALWAYS benefits. And the mission most likely benefits, too!
Relationships Outside the Congregation
It would seem to be good news that 80% of pastors have relationships outside the congregation where they are well known!
The statistics take a troubling downturn of support among peers. A full 11% drop from before Covid to now!
And, in an age where it seems everyone has a mentor or counselor or coach, 65% of pastors pressed the “none of the above” button!
So, I could wear 2 different hats here!
AND, please explore some of the resources that our PLI partners and friends have to offer:
In my 25 years of congregation pastoring, I can sample from 3 different seasons:
- My early, insecure years.
- My middle—I’ve created an unsustainable grind for myself—years.
- My later—relocate an inner city Anglo congregation and support a gifted Hispanic congregation in its place—years.
In all of those seasons, I would have most likely pressed the “none of the above” professional help button along with two-thirds of the rest of today’s post-Covid clergy!
Early years? I thought I needed to know all the answers and have it together.
Middle years? “I got myself into this. I need to get myself out of this.”
Later years? I didn’t need one more person telling me that it was impossible to do what we were attempting to do for the sake of the mission!
Obviously foolish perspectives. Each of them. And, don’t repeat my mistake!
Your thoughts? Which of the above “partners and friends” or otherwise should you act on before moving on with your day?