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 and going deeper--my wife and daughter have expensive health issues, and my salary is low compared to the cost of living around here anyway. God has always been faithful to provide, but my outgo exceeds my income and that can't continue indefinitely.

Things at the church aren't bad, but attendance and giving are down, and, while nobody's blaming me to my face, there is subtext that if I was doing my job better then we'd be in better shape. I've been here five years, and raises have been low or nonexistent, and, unless the financial picture turns around, they'll have to phase my position out. I've never been in a church that has paid me what they could if they chose to--even this church could have done better than it has, until just recently.

I'm smart, experienced, capable, well-educated, and hard-working, but I'm tired of working a high-expectation job just to make much less money than most of my church members. Nothing I've tried in my current church has made a difference, and casting the net towards other ministry opportunities hasn't panned out. I'm envious of younger ministers who are in larger and better paying ministry positions than I am.

I'm probably in a mid-life crisis, feeling like a middle-aged failure--three kids, one in college, no savings, not much in the retirement account, a whopping debt load, and a dead-end job.

I'm just tired. I want to get out of the ministry, but I don't know what I'd do that would help my finances--my skills and education are specialized towards church work, and retraining or entry-level work would take a long time before they'd turn things around. Plus, as I've said, God has never failed to provide for my daily needs, and I don't dare let HIM down, any more than I do on a daily basis. If He would have me stay, then somehow, someway, there's a way forward. I just need to find it.

Thanks for letting me whine. God bless, friends.

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Pastor Burnout Stories.

Recent Articles

  1. God is speaking!

    Feb 15, 17 08:56 AM

    I grew up in a Christian Home. At the age of 10 years old I was saved and baptized. I became involved in the youth group and was involved until my first

    Read More

  2. Well Worth The Risk! Be Encouraged!

    Feb 15, 17 08:52 AM

    I am reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God makes everything beautiful in its time. I'm so thankful that God's timing is always perfect. Last year, I

    Read More

  3. Am I guilty if I don't feel strong enough to move internationally for missions?

    Feb 08, 17 11:38 AM

    Hi, my husband is an evangelist and church planter. We have been married 22 years and moved into 6 countries and 38 times moved house, sometimes for ministry,

    Read More