Pastor Burnout Stories

The pastor burnout stories on this page are intended to be a source of encouragement to others enduring the darkness and loneliness of burnout, depression, church conflict, and moral failure. In addition, we've found that the very act of sharing our burnout stories provides some therapeutic benefit. That is, we feel better knowing that our pain can be used for someone's benefit.

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Do you have a story to tell? Do you need to read stories so that you know you're not alone?

I would like you to do both - scroll down and follow some of the links to read other burnout stories. Then come back up to the form just below and share your own story.

As you're writing, keep a couple guidelines in mind.

  • Keep details anonymous. Avoid using names, locations, or other details that might give too much away.
  • Don't rant about how you've been treated. This is not the place for tearing down people or churches. Tell us your story without attacking others.
  • Please don't use all CAPITAL LETTERS. It looks like you are shouting and is difficult to read.

Would You Share Your Burnout Story?

Sharing your story will help others to know they are not alone and may be therapeutic for you. Keep names and details anonymous, but share your struggle and how you are doing right now.

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Read Other Burnout Stories

Click any of the links below to see contributions from other visitors to this page.

Tired in Tennessee 
Over the last two years, I have looked at this website many times. There are so many stories on here that sound just like mine. I have wanted to tell my …

I am leaving My pastor Husband 
After 4 years of waiting for my husband to find time for me and my daughter I have had enough and I am leaving. I own the house we live in I earn almost …

Jaded... 
I entered seminary with no interest in going into parish ministry. I thought I would become a professor of theology...or bible...or another related field. …

filing for divorce as a result of abuse by husband the senior pastor 
My husband and I have been married for eight years and have been in ministry for seven of those years. Over the last three years my husband has become …

Praise the Lord!! 
At fellowship tonight, no one came. No not even one person. Just my wife and I. So I thought. Actually one person tried to come but the door was locked. …

Ready to Run 
Where do I even start? Do I start with our first ministry as a married couple where I watched my husband cry for the first time because of the abuse of …

Who hears the cry of the Pastor's Wife? 
I don't have the strength to go into full detail of my story. I can't even articulate what's wrong with me, all I can say is I am tired. I literally "googled" …

Vally of decision.  
I have been in the ministry now for almost 18 years. It is a calling. God has blessed me incredibly. Words cannot describe the incredible plan He has stored …

Acting as if Nothing Happened 
Before I dive into my story, let me say that, technically speaking, I'm not a pastor. I graduated from seminary, ordained in a small denomination, and …

Why me God 
After taking over a struggling Church seven years ago, having to deal with a difficult eldership, and starting with an unkempt set of books, demoralized …

The Liberal Baptist Church 
I applied online to a very small church in the inner city this last year. They were very small, nice people, and had a pastor for over 18 years who taught …

Its not fun anymore 
I started out pastoring with all the zeal and energy of a 5 year old on a playground, but now after over 20 years in the ministry, I honestly dread it. …

To Preach or not to Preach 
I pastor a small congregation in Tennessee. I have been here for five months. The church had eight people when my family and I came here. Not including …

Second-Guessing My Call 
I'm forty-five years old, and associate pastor of a mid-sized church. I've been in professional full-time ministry for twenty years. I'm deep in debt …

No Missionary appreciation day! 
I am 14 years in full time pioneering missions in Eastern Europe. The work is hard with very little fruit. Because of being outsiders we never receive …

Still Hanging in There, Part 3 
Like many other posts in this web site, the one from Brien in Illinois deeply touched me. I can relate to his struggles. About 20 years ago I was …

"If you were just... then the church would grow." 
My first pastorate has lasted longer than many of the statistics you will find. Most only last a year or two but I am now at seven. The church has been …

"It's your wife's fault..." 
I was a pastor at a small, rural church of about 40. Their longtime pastor - a beloved man - had just died after many years at the helm. After several …

Escaping the Toxic Person 
One of the hardest parts, to me, of pastoral work is when you identify that toxic person who has no boundaries. Most experts say if you can't talk with …

Still Hanging in There, Part 2 
Dear Friends: Last summer, 2012, I posted on this web site my story entitled, ā€œStill Hanging in There,ā€ and I trust it has been an encouragement. I said …

Surrendered Credentials 
Last week, after 3 years on voluntary leave of absence I finally surrendered my credentials. I am, or will be when the action is formally approved, no …

Just Plain Tired 
I've been scrolling and reading, scrolling and reading. Tears come to my eyes. I see myself in so much of what you've written. I've been in pastoral …

Losing my religion... 
OK, so maybe I've not lost my religion. What I have lost the ability to trust key leadership in the small church I serve. And it's all because of one member …

8 years of wandering 
I left the ministry at a time of great turmoil at our church. I was a naive casualty of an elder-staff power struggle. I resigned because I was burned …

Click here to write your own.

30 Years - Time to Change Gears 
I was saved and called to ministry 32 years ago. Just four years later I began doing ministry in prisons and on the streets. After three years serving …

Tired Pastor's wife.... 
I grew up in a Pastor's home, as a result, I vowed I would never marry one! Well,I ate my words...I have been married to a Pastor for 20 years now. He …

Why I am Here 
It's like this: as long as I remember why I AM HERE, that keeps me going. I have actually found myself wanting to call a meeting so I can tell these "CHRISTIANS" …

Happy hour is more Christ-like 
When I told my parents that I felt called to the ministry my mother was devastated. My father, a pastor himself, pretended to be proud. I was hurt then …

Done... 
Today, after a much inner fight, I asked my wife to call a dinner of the members for Saturday. I'm done. I have the heart for people but no inner power …

I want to give up!!!! 
I am the son of a preacher man. Raised in the fear of God and desiring to follow in my father's footsteps. I served in the military, attended college, …

Still Hanging in There 
I am sure there was a time in my life when I was not physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted all of the time, yet I am having trouble recalling …

The Best and Worst Time of My Life 
From the time that I was a small child I knew I was called in ministry. I saw myself telling people about Jesus and even as I grew up and into my early …

Throwing in the Towel 
I have been a pastor for twelve years. I don't come from a family of pastors and I was not raised in church. I don't have a degree in theology and have …

Step down or burn out 
After reading the testimonies here I realize there are three common threads to pastor burnout.1)Non-support by the congregation (financial) 2) Non-support …

A Problem of Ownership 
God will use you in powerful ways ... if you will let Him move you through the burnout to hope and new life. I was ready to leave the ministry 12 years …

Street Evangelist Burnout 
I have never been a pastor, but I used to do street evangelism using a sign. I had one on the back of my bicycle as well as using them on street corners. …

Miserable but can't afford to quit. 
I am a pastor who came out of the First Generation Asian Church because of how political it was and joined an independent church and finally felt at home. …

The Fall And Rise Of A Prodigal Son 
The bulk of my adult life has been consumed with full time Christian ministry. Born again at age 12, surrendered to the call to ministry one year later, …

Holding On 
I've pastored churches for 27 years now. I have had my share of headaches and heartburn. I have lost a few battles and won a few. After nearly three decades …

Five Years Pastoring and Two Heart Attacks 
At 40 years old I took over a growing church that my father pastored for 30 years. He passed away in 2005 and I was voted in as the new Senior Pastor in …

Struggling with "the Call" 
Growing up I never had a Godly influence in my life. And, other than the occasional Vacation Bible School, or attending church with my uncle from time …

Lost my desire for life 
My story is too long to say here. I've been in ministry for more than 15 years. I've been abused by the sheep, lived through so much pain in the ministry, …

Over 60 and not appointable. 
I am a 60 year old minister serving a small two point rural circuit in the United Methodist Church. When I reached my middle and late 50's the ecclesiastical …

The Blessing of an Authentic Life 
My husband and I pastored in various denominations from 1983 until presently where we basically only attend services and he sings in a choir in another …

I miss the fruit... 
I have been in the ministry for over twenty years now. I have been senior pastor now for the last 12. During that time I have endured some extreme conflict …

You're Not Alone 
All of you listen YOU are not alone I have had the fortune of expierencing many occupations over the last 35 years and am currently becoming an elder …

The Jonah Effect 
Today I woke up wondering how we got here? By here I mean a place of complete loss of direction, purpose and calling. I read your article about pastors …

LOST 
I've had such a wonderful life, loving parents, loving brothers and sisters, loving grandparents, just a all around great family. I ask myself a lot, How …

I feel stuck. 
Want to be a Christian and lead God's people, but the harshness of ministry is putting a toll on me and my family. However I don't want to let God down. …

Click here to write your own.

Here Again 
I am on leave from my pastorate after enduring a number of extreme panic attacks in my last days "on the job." In my denomination, it is a requirement …

Never Good Enough 
Its been 16 years or will be in Oct 2011 and I am walking away from the pastorate. I used to love preaching, the study, the drafting, the ability to share …

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 …

Where do I go from here? 
I have been serving full time in the pastoral ministry for 17 years (on my third congregation ... two years now). When I first entered the ministry, I …

I May Become A Pastor 
I am a humble woman. I have raised my kids as a single mom, and have suffered spirit breaking situations for many years of my life. I worked long hard …

Weary, But Hopeful 
It's been 23 years and 3 churches. My first was a little country church. I was young, naive, and full of hope. I was the next Billy Graham. Everyone told …

Old And Tired 
My wife just announced to me yesterday that she's thinking of leaving me. She is frustrated with the way I deal with some of the financial problems we've …

My Burnout Move 
I've been in the ministry for over 20 years. I was beginning to suffer the signs of depression about five years ago and fell back on an old hobby I practiced …

Avoiding Burn Out One Crises at a Time 
In reality, my story isn't of a burnout ministry story, (yet). But it's more of a story living at the edge of burning out, and by the grace of God, I'm …

Healed  
I was a pastor of a church about twenty years ago,like all pastors we get consummed in our duties. I work a public job, which had me working many hours. …

Moral Failure. 
Hi, I've been in the ministry now for about 5 yrs and been serving God for at least 13 yrs. But like you were, I'm on antidepressants. I've been depressed …

Death By Pastor Burnout 
Pastor burnout is a viscous enemy of ministry. It nearly killed me... literally. I remember the exact point I hit bottom. I was staring into a mirror …

Click here to write your own.

Were you encouraged by any of these stories? If so, I'd like to encourage you to share your story with us as well. Go back up to the form and tell us your clergy burnout story.

When you're finished telling or reading the pastor burnout stories, click here to return to the home page.

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Pastor Burnout