How to Keep the Pastor You Love
By Jane Rubietta
Here are excerpts from a good book that church staff, elders and/or members should read:
Guidelines for Better Church-to-Pastor Communication:
- Be honest about expectations.
- Communicate unwritten rules about the church and parsonage. (If the coffee pot is an idol, tell the ministerial family so they don’t unwittingly use if for a social or for the staff barbecue at the manse.)
- Write down the unwritten rules.
- Be willing to negotiate on those rules!
- Get the job description and benefits/ compensation.
- Ask questions to clarify.
- Assume nothing.
P. 50 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love
One day a week scarcely suffices for clergy or anyone to recharge emotionally, physically and spiritually; keep one’s home in order and in repair; and have quality and quantity family time. Ministers do not move from glory to glory but from crisis to crisis. Even if they took their one allotted day off, it is not enough to keep them from becoming one of those untimely funerals. P. 54 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love
The Omniscience Quotient: Expectations and the Pastorate:
“You didn’t come to see my mother while she was so ill.” The woman’s eyes burned holes in Rev. Stewart. “Where were you when we needed you?”
The pastor’s voice was low, gentle. “Alice, when did you tell me she was in the hospital?”
Alice dropped her gaze mumbling, “You should know. I-I thought you knew.”
The minister, who often acts as a lightning rod, was a likely target for Alice’s pain over her mother’s death. Her anger, which steamrolled to the point of threatening Rev. Stewart’s pastorate, began to dissipate through conversations with the pastor and the pastor-relations board.
Somewhere, a universal, unwritten expectation exists: that pastors have a direct, intuitive crisis line revealing the problems and needs of parishioners. These hidden assumptions have led to pastoral depression and guilt, and result in conflict in many churches.
Pp. 55-56 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love
Expectations are the reason 33 percent of clergy leave their pastorate.
Pastors “are one of the most frustrated occupational groups in our country…the reason may have much to do with their inability to live up to the expectations placed upon them.” P. 57 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love
Pastors, spread too thin and too far for maximum effectiveness for the kingdom, risk losing their ministries, their faith and their joy. Most have experienced personal and professional crises that threatened to incapacitate their work.
For example, spiritual drought, isolation and unachievable expectations can destroy families. Over two years Dallas Theological Seminary professor Dr. Howard Hedricks collected 246 names of ministers who confessed to moral failure. They had four common characteristics: they were not having personal time with God, were counseling the opposite sex, had no close friends and had the attitude, “It cannot happen to me.”
Stress and burnout both lead to isolation, creating an endless downward spiral.
Pp. 65-66 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love
Depression is prevalent among ministers. One survey found that 67% of female clergy experience depression in their ministry; among male clergy, the number was 60%. P. 66 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love
Forty-nine percent of pastors say “Pastoring this church has been difficult on my family.” P. 89 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love
“Eighty percent of practicing pastors think ministry negatively affects them or their families.”
“Most pastors work in excess of 70 hours a week. Seventy percent don’t take a week of vacation during the year, and 60 percent don’t get a full day off during the week.”
P. 90 – Jane Rubietta: How to Keep the Pastor You Love