I wish someone told me how stressful being a pastor is...
I am glad I found this site. Burnout among pastors is so common yet whenever I broach this topic among other pastors and even my supervisor, they would look at me as if i was talking Greek.
There is no atmosphere in the church where this can be safely addressed. The church members are not prepared to hear about their pastors wanting to quit.
I was ordained a pastor more than a decade ago. I loved preaching and counseling and directing the youth activities. My first pastorate was a small church that had struggled to get established... it used to be a closely-knit church but soon the in-fighting took place. The smallness of it made the fights very huge.
I was transferred from there and now I work in a different capacity in the denomination. But my heart is getting too weary and tired. I kept on wondering how life would have turned out had I not been full-time in ministry?
My wife was diagnosed with clinical depression a couple of years back. It took awhile before we could openly discuss these with the members - which up to now, these people still do not know how it is like to live with and care for someone who is depressed, clinically.
I have ticked-off the list of the symptoms of depression and burnout here. Another aspect that is really making me sad about this is our very limited financial capability. No matter how many hours I put in, no matter how much you prepare and present your sermon.. the salary will always be the same. Sometimes I feel guilty for needing more. But we have dire family needs. A parent is bedridden and the medical expenses are piling up. Medicines for clinical depression could also be costly in the long run. We have bills to pay (people get offended if you don't answer their emails right away.. not knowing that I struggle where to find the money to pay for my internet connection), house rent just like the others.
Sometimes I feel that it is not worth all the stress and the unhappiness.
There was a paragraph in one of the pages here that deeply resonated within me. The difference between WANTING TO DIE AND BEING SUICIDAL was really comforting. I had been wanting to die but I am not suicidal. I was conducting a funeral and I was preaching about the hope... and people around me were crying and were telling me how encouraging it was... but deep inside, I was almost envious at the peace and how everything is over for the deceased christian brother.
I would be driving and I would imagine people talking about how they first heard of the news of my death. I would be wondering who would be attending at the funeral. I have a list of songs and some people in mind who I would request to give a message or two...
Wanting to die. Wanting peace. Wanting to just "check-out".
This has been the most difficult year. As I am typing this, my broadband bill arrived. I am getting anxious about transferring some money to cover the house rent.
I was giving a sermon one sunday and I was talking about God's provision and how He provides... yet at the same time, I was deeply aware that I was panicking inside because we had no money for the following week.
It is really hard to be in full-time ministry. People expect you to be strong, faithful, powerful in preaching without sounding like you are condemning, friendly even if people are criticizing you publicly....
I had been wanting to be out but frankly, this is my dilemma. I enjoy the preaching and counseling part... and I am effective for the most part. I am in my 40s now and the job search has also been quite futile recently.
I feel stuck with no money, no hope, no future and I feel such a fake preaching about a God who gave us hope and a future.
I am going to a conference soon about recharging the pastors... (I feel such a hypocrite...I am the one needing the re-charging not them...)
I need a long sabbatical.
Maybe a long sleep would be better.
Resting in peace would be the best.
Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Pastor Burnout Stories.