I love this time of year. I love celebrating the Savior’s birth, and I love getting together with family.
Still, I am aware that many people are struggling and hurting during the Christmas season. And, probably to the surprise of some of you, pastors are often among those who are struggling.
LifeWay Research recently conducted a survey to ask pastors where they feel the greatest stress. There were four stressors acknowledged by over half of the pastors, and one stressor noted by nearly half.
- 84% of pastors say they are on call 24 hours a day. Crises do not take a break, so pastors can’t either. Almost every pastor feels tension when the phone rings late at night.
- 80% of pastors expect conflict in their church. Conflict and criticism come with the role of pastor. It is to be expected. But that doesn’t mean it’s not stressful.
- 54% of pastors find the role frequently overwhelming. The key word here is “frequently.” Over half of the pastors feel this way.
- 53% of pastors are concerned about their financial security. It’s a shame a few pastors have given the vocation a bad name with their extravagant lifestyles. Most pastors are paid modestly. Over half of the pastors admit financial struggles.
- 48% of pastors often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle. Many church members expect pastors to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. In a church with an average attendance of 200, pastors are often expected to be at 15 or more meetings or events each week. It’s impossible to please everyone.
You probably won’t find your pastor complaining about these stressors. Most of them are selfless and serving individuals.
But may I be bold and request you give your pastor three gifts this Christmas? You won’t have to spend a dime to get these gifts, but they would mean so much to your pastor.
Tell your pastors you are praying for them.
Tell your pastors how much you appreciate them.
Tell your pastors one specific thing they have done this past year that meant a lot to you.
Merry Christmas to all of you.
And may your pastors have a joyous Christmas as well.