I read some statistics the other day, and the sad thing is I totally understood and related to them. I'll share some of them here:
80% of pastors feel that the ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor's children do not attend church as an adult because of what the church has done to their parents.
70% of pastors say they have a lower self image now than they did when they entered ministry.
85% of pastors say that their greatest struggle is dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled members, elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members and associate pastors.
50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
80% of the ministers starting out will not stay in more than 5 years.
66% of church members expect the pastor and his family to live at a higher moral standard than they do.
80% of pastors wives wish their husband would choose a different profession.
Over 4000 churches closed their doors last year. That's more than 10 a day.
(Compiled from Barna and Focus on the Family research)
The one statement that keeps replaying in my mind is my sweet friend, whom I called when we made the decision to resign, who said: Alyson, you need to know that this is not the church. You need to know that this is not what Jesus has in mind when he established the church. And while I know that in my heart, my head sees and hears differently. This, apparently, is what the church has become. I can name many of our peers from college who were ministry majors, followed the Lord into pastoral roles, only to be chewed up and spit out by the very people we were prepared and called to serve. What is up with that? Where in the Bible does it ever say that it is ok to treat people badly, judge them, talk about them, and decide whether or not they are good enough?
I have to think that Christ is in heaven shedding tears over how his bride is behaving.