It’s always sad to see a pastor struggling with pastoral discouragement. The good thing is it’s possible to uplift pastors, even when things seem bleak.
One thing that’s important to remember is pastors are people just like everyone else. They stress, they worry and they feel insecure at times.
Before trying to help a pastor in need, it’s important to identify the sources of their discouragement.
1. Fighting Among Members And Staff
In some churches, infighting is actually destroying the church. Now, imagine this from a pastor’s perspective. A pastor is supposed to be a shepherd that brings everyone together. Yet, all they see is fighting among members and staff. It’s hard not to feel discouraged when you can’t seem to find any resolution and the church is falling apart.
When you notice infighting, it’s time to step back and figure out why. There’s always a way to find common ground. Working together to find that solution helps to stop the fighting and encourage pastors.
2. Decline In Members
It’s common to see pastoral discouragement in churches where membership is declining. For some pastors, it feels like a failure. While there are numerous reasons why growth may have become stagnant, it’s important to help your pastor through this time. Of course, it may just mean it’s time for a new growth strategy. We’ve covered different ways to help grow your church, such as:
- 6 Ways You Can Grow Your Church This Year
- How To Maintain What You Already Have To Increase Growth
- Growing Your Church – How To Make Your Website Irresistible To Visitors
3. The Facebook Effect
If you’ve ever used Facebook, you know how easy it is to compare yourself to all your friends. However, those profiles rarely show the whole picture. This Facebook effect is often a source of pastoral discouragement. Whether it happens on social media or just friendships with local pastors, pastors can’t help but compare themselves to other pastors. Perhaps a fellow pastor is celebrating a flood of new members or is getting improvements to their church.
Whatever the cause, pastors sometimes feel insecure and discouraged when they can’t seem to measure up. It’s vital to show how thankful you are for all that they do.
4. Financial Issues
Financial issues often plague pastors. Sadly, it comes from two different sides – the church and their personal life. Let’s face it, being a pastor usually doesn’t lead to a life of monetary riches. However, if they buy a new car or move to a new home, members start to question where church funds are going. Of course, there is also the struggle with maintaining a church financially. Finding money for much-needed upgrades and repairs isn’t always easy either.
5. Inability To Make Changes
It’s hard to grow a church without making changes. However, members and staff sometimes refuse to allow any changes. How could a pastor not fall victim to pastoral discouragement in this case? The solution is simple. Be willing to hear out your pastor and be more flexible for the sake of growing the church.
Pastors aren’t immune to bullying. Their every move is scrutinized, but they make mistakes like everyone else. It’s not uncommon for them to be chastised for seeing a movie with foul language or seeming close to a member of the opposite sex that’s not their spouse. There’s also the bullying that comes from atheists and disgruntled past members.
All the church can do is remember their pastor isn’t perfect and work to encourage versus discourage.
7. Being Pulled In Too Many Directions
It’s impossible for a pastor to do everything. They can’t possibly visit every single member, especially in larger churches. They don’t have the time to oversee every volunteer team or spend every hour counseling members. They’d love to, but they have responsibilities to their family outside the church. They need downtime from their job too.
Make sure your pastor has time for their personal life too. They need time to destress and be with the ones they love.
8. Maintaining The Church
It’s always a struggle to maintain a church. Pastors wonder where the money is coming from to fix a leaky roof or pave a parking lot. They struggle with boosting membership to bring in more funds.
Of course, they also have to figure out what’s best for the church and stop comparing their church to other churches. After all, the size of the church isn’t what’s important. It’s the quality of the community inside the church that matters.
Pastoral discouragement isn’t all that uncommon. Encourage members to support their pastor by posting positive messages to social media and even in comments on your church’s website. See if your site is ready to handle all these positive comments with our free website analysis.