Little Pay / No Time Off / Constant Trouble!

by Josh
(Florida)

Right out of college I took an interim position at this little church in my home town. Their previous pastor was dying of cancer and so I took the position. The pay was literally 100.00/week and no benefits. Thankfully I had a secular job that I was working to put myself through school.

After less than a month they offered me the position and because my wife and I fell in love with the people, and we felt God's calling, we took it. After a year and a half, I cut all my bills to "bare-bones" and went to the then 20 member church and asked them if they would step out on faith and hire me for 1600.00 per month, I would quit my secular job and go full time at the church. They accepted and thus began an incredible hard road. With no benefits and coupon clipping being the only way we survived thus far, the church has only fluctuated and not grown. We loose two and gain one. We loose one and gain two. My wife and I just had our first child and find that the bills are growing and we've run out of "frills" to cut. I haven't had a vacation since 2008 (currently its Oct. 2011) and with the church bearing "seemingly" no fruit, I am facing incredible burn out.

My heart is knit together with the children we bus in (using two beat up vans) and the few people we have feel like family. At the same time, I know my actual family can't keep putting up with a progressively more and more depressed leader. And frankly as I sit here trying to plan my sermon for Sunday... Well, I'm writing this post and not doing that, so that should tell you where it is on my priority list. But I know I've got to stand before God's people in two days and feed them something. Added to that, no one seems to really care to honor me or my family in any way. And please don't get me wrong, I am not in it for the praise by-any-means, but a simple thank you would go a long way right now...

I just don't know what to do... I've sacrificed all I can and then some and nothing seems to be working. I face a seemingly never ending future of constant depression as the world around us just continues to crumble!

Any advice would be appreciated...

Sincerely,

Weary in Well-Doing

Comments for Little Pay / No Time Off / Constant Trouble!

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Pray for God's deliverance
by: Pastor Adrian

How can you possibly take care of the family with $1600/month? I believe it is totally biblical to have supplemental income. Your personal relationship with God is the first priority. Your second priority is taking care of your family. The congregation needs to learn how to properly take care of their shepherd.

Advice for Josh
by: Anonymous

Dear Josh,
Your first obligation is to your marriage, yourself and your child. Leave this congregation. Leave it now brother. "calling" is a word that has come to mean something very unhealthy in christian circles. I pastored with my husband for 25 years like this and ruined my health and children. You are still a young man and just go back to your "secular" job and take care of your family. this "taking care" of a congregation of people who are adults is unhealthy. These people can take care of themselves and their children. Financial problems is the No. 1 reason that Christian marriages break up after adultery. There is no need for you to have an unhealthy marriage and family life and I can assure you, the longer you stay with this congregation, the worse your finances, and the strain will be. Get out now dear brother. There is "no shame" in admitting you cannot "afford" to do this work. Pastoring is mind numbing and soul sucking work. To say the least. A man, a Christian man, is worth his wage. What does it say about your "worth" that you live on $1600 a month? You are not valuing yourself, your wife, your child, your family first. Neither is a congregation valuing you who will only pay you $1600/month. We, as Christians, must value ourselves more highly, stop this unhealthy type of pastoring such as yours. the key to knowing whether you belong somewhere is the freedom in your heart and mind. Right now your heart and mind is pulled back and forth between not being able to provide for your wife and child. They come first. Your "role" as a provider for your wife and child always comes first. You must take care of them. If this "job" as pastor does not allow you to be the best provider then you must leave it even if you have become attached. Your "first attachment" should be to your wife and child. I have seen this over and over. Pastors attached to their congregations while wife and children come second. In everything. Please, get your priorities straight. If you were really honest you would admit you absolutely hate being so undervalued in your salary and I imagine you are in work overload. your wife will eventually resent you like crazy and so will your kid. what about the second child who comes along? Please. Don't do this to yourself, your wife, your child. You want advice? Go be the best provider for your family you can be. Elizabeth+

Encouragement
by: Paddy Venner

HI there mate - I can well relate to your situation as we have been there/done that. My wife and I have been in ministry for 17 years now and our first few years looked similar to yours. You need a friend. Are there no pastor couples in your region or denomination that you guys can just hang out with and have good fellowship? We are UK based and simply found 2 other couples in the city, from churches different to ours, and we have a meal together every 6 weeks, and it has become a forum for our lives - we chat with them the way we can't with our church members, and we are there for each other, advising and praying for one another. And having a laugh - we forget how to do that sometimes. Ministry from an empty tank is soul destroying. You need to level with your leadership team who I assume have got your back and are supportive of you and your vision. Tell them what is going on - you need a good long rest for a few months. Please feel free to talk to me - I sense such loneliness in your writing. You are not alone, and God will reward everything done in His name.

Serve only Him
by: Pastor Gene

Dear Josh

My brother I have spent the past 30 plus years serving the Lord most of which was bi-vocational. However in all my time as a Senior pastor I have refused to do so. While some men say they can, i for one believe we are not giving our flock the truth and serving them well when we are tired, burnt out, or stressed and outside employment simply adds to it. I also believe the Body is to take care of the shepherd that is their responsibility. I have been at my present church for two years and have yet to receive consistent compensation. Just last Friday my wife and I were down to our last four dollars, our credit cards are maxed, and we have no savings yet plenty of bills. Friday morning I asked the Lord for provision and by the end of the day we received a total of $800 in love gifts without solicitation. So what is my point? When the people won't do what they are called to do God is still faithful, remember you serve Him first and by doing so He will care for you. People who do not care for their shepherd are disobedient, you need to ask the one you serve what to do, say, or ? Then trust Him! If you have nothing to give them give them Jesus.
I will be praying for you brother!

Gene
gene@newbeginningsshastalake.com

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Editor - PastorBurnout.com

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