While members typically look to their pastors to help uplift them, sometimes pastors need the same support.
As surprising as it may be, pastors feel unworthy sometimes. They’re human just like everyone else and fall victim to the same kinds of doubts as the rest of the church staff and members.
Pastors shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling unworthy. It will happen to everyone at some point, but recognizing the signs helps you to overcome them.
1. Declining Community
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that membership, especially among millennials, is declining. When a pastor sees the church community gradually declining, it’s depressing. It’s easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong. Pastors feel unworthy since members are leaving instead of bringing in new members. Members leave for a wide variety of reasons (such as moving for a new job), many of which have nothing to do with the pastor. Working on plans to increase membership is the best way to overcome in this situation.
2. Unhappy Members
Pastors know they can’t make every member happy, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Even when everyone comes together for a common purpose – to worship together – there will still be arguments. Members will dislike others and expect the pastor to take sides and fix everything. It’s easy to feel unworthy when you’re being badgered, but don’t have a perfect solution.
3. Difficulties Running The Church
Churches don’t run on faith alone. It takes money to keep a church open. However, tithing is decreasing or plateauing in 59% of churches. Online giving has increased, but there’s still a decline overall. With financial difficulties, it’s a struggle to run the church the way you want. This leads to pastors feeling unworthy. You may not be prepared to deal with issues like these, but by working with your church family, it’s a struggle that you can overcome.
4. Attempting To Have A Perfect Church
The perfect church doesn’t exist, but it’s hard to tell a pastor that. Every church has its own unique problems. Maybe the building itself needs some work and doesn’t look as impressive as the church a few miles down the road. Trying to make everything perfect just leads to feelings of inadequacy. Since it’s not possible, you feel unworthy. Accepting what you have and working to realistically grow the church is the best approach.
5. Members Who Refuse Change
Change is inevitable if you want your church to grow, but when change means coming up against a brick wall, it’s seemingly impossible. Your members want the church the grow, but they don’t want to make any changes. It’s a common problem and one that makes pastors feel unworthy.
Finding the right compromises is difficult and some members may leave, but change is a must to keep the church growing and thriving.
6. Personal Issues
Pastors aren’t immune to personal issues. They have family problems, financial issues and everyday stressors. Yet, pastors often feel like they should be able to rise above these problems easily. After all, they’re supposed to set a positive example. Pastors aren’t perfect. Sometimes when members see that their pastor is having the same problems, they feel a little better themselves.
Instead of feeling unworthy, use your experiences to help your members. If necessary, take some time off to deal with any problems. As with any career, sometimes you need a break to take care of the personal side of your life.
7. Constant Comparisons
Everyone has compared themselves to someone else at some point in their lives. As a pastor, it’s hard not to compare yourself to other pastors. Perhaps a friend you attended seminary school with leads a church with consistent growth and a large number of members. You can’t help but compare your smaller church with dwindling numbers.
Comparisons do nothing but hurt. You’ll always see that someone else seems better than you. But, remember that you likely aren’t seeing the whole picture. That pastor you envied may actually envy you. Only think of how God sees you because it’s His opinion that matters.
If declining membership is making you feel unworthy, consider how a website could help boost membership and engagement.