Part 4 of Series


We began this series with identifying twelve sources of clergy frustration.  Here is that list again:

1. It is a lonely job. 2. People don’t understand your job. 3. Your church has too many expectations that control your priorities. 4. The leadership does not have your back. 5. Churches are more interested in maintenance than mission. 6. Your church does not want you to lead, they want you to chaplain. 7. You don’t have enough time for your family. 8. Your church does not support your need for rest–both spiritual and physical.    9. Your compensation is inadequate. 10. Your church prefers cultural Christianity to the Bible. 11.  Your church expects you to be perfect. 12.  Your church values doing over being.

I must tell you that there are NO easy answers or QUICK fixes to this problem.  Some of our clergy have passed the frustration level to anger, depression, despair and short of the grace of God providing a miracle of healing, will finally leave the ministry altogether.  And as American clergy age, there will be younger persons who will chose to pursue ministry in other ways outside the parish.  Unhealthy pastors or no pastors, the same will be destructive and damage churches who need to be healthy and life-giving to the communities in which they serve.

This is what I propose to begin the healing process:

1. Stop seeing the pastor as an employee.

2. Stop expecting the pastor to DO the ministry that the congregation needs to be sharing in.

3. Elders, especially, need to join the pastor in shepherding the flock.

4. Understand that for the pastor to be a SPIRITUAL leader, he or she must have TIME and SOLITUDE for prayer, study, reflection and growing in THEIR personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

5. Love the pastor’s FAMILY and DEMONSTRATE that love in practical ways.

6. Elders and other leaders need to PROTECT and DEFEND their pastor from unfair and unreasonable expectations and criticism.

7. Speak the truth IN LOVE to your pastor.

8. Follow the pastor as he or she follows Christ in carrying out the mission.

9. Learn to say “thank you.”

10. PAY the pastor a LIVING salary and don’t balance the church’s budget on their back.

11. Speak well of your pastor to others.


Once again, I hope lay leaders will read this post.

© 2018  by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to For all other uses, contact Steve at 







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