It is likely not you or you lack of ability, skill or dedication.

by Once a Chaplain
(Pacific Coast)

I served for 14 years as a military chaplain. Before that I did not serve a church but was a hospital chaplain. I did not really know what it was like to be a church pastor. I had a great military career. In my whole time, I always earned the very top evaluations and feedback. I felt very appreciated (well I did serve a base chaplain, and actually, in hindsight, that was very much like a church).

When I retired, I became a church pastor. I am going to retire very soon. I am very tired of it all. The 7/24 demands, the expectations, the politics, and the inability or desire to change.

I did not fully realize how good I had it as a military chaplain. Sure we had long and sometimes hard hours, often with family separation, but there was also reward, respect, good pay and benefits, and fun.

I see very little fun in church work, it is always a push for this coming event and then the next one. I make 1/2 of what I did before, work twice as hard, and receive 1/5th of the appreciation.

I note this as I was considered a top performer in all of my previous positions as a chaplain. If I did not have all those years to balance my perspective of my worth, ability, and skills, I would be very demotivated and somewhat doubting of my call.

For what it is worth, I think most of my peers are not broken but the church and expectations are.

Comments for It is likely not you or you lack of ability, skill or dedication.

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Kind of you
by: Anonymous

Thank you,

I am following up years later and just read your note. I love being retired, and unfortunately, find that attending church does nothing for me now.

I volunteer at a community center now and then.

I hope all who visit find peace and purpose, which may not come via the church.

Thanks again for your kind note.

Needing Appreciation and Recognition
by: E Levesque

Dear Pastor:

Thanks for sharing your life's experience as a chaplain then a pastor. You are right. There is very little appreciation and recognition in the pastorate of some churches, two things humans need to be healthy and to know they are doing a good job. WE all need to hear, "atta girl!" or "atta boy" and a pat on the back does wonders. But, all too often, the unhealthy nature of the church, yours sounds particularly heinous, the bottomless demands, the black cavern of problems with no end in sight, can leave pastors feeling like you: defeated in tone and emasculated as a man. Impotent. Lacking power in that respect. Spiritually dry. Unappreciated and when you make 1/2 of what you did, devalued. But, I have one thing to say to you sir; "thank you for your service!" I appreciate you and no matter what the "know it alls" of the system you are in are doing, the Lord sees, hears and knows all. I pray the Lord richly bless you and reward you for your LONG years of service. I know he will! You are of incalculable worth! I hope your retirement is the best! I pray it will be! Just stand back and watch the Lord work for you! Prayers and Blessings+

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