According to the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development, it's reported that 35-40% of pastors survive less than 5 years on the job, and after 10 years, 60-80% of ministers quit."
Being a pastor is listed as being one of the most difficult jobs. Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources shared what he learned from an informal survey of what pastors liked least about their jobs. Among the top 10 complaints were "members whose priorities are their own comfort and preferences," "expectation to be on call 24/7" and "conflict and complaining church members."
Stress is defined as "pressure or tension" either from an external source or from within. Undoubtedly there is the daily pressure from church members for constant communication and pastoral care, but what often goes unnoticed is the internal stress pastors place upon themselves. How do you deal with the constant expectations placed upon you? How does perfectionism and people-pleasing behavior play a role in your life? How do you balance life outside the pastorate as a husband/wife, as a father/mother? How is your relationship with your spouse, children and family? Like so many pastors, these questions can lead to a heightened level of anxiety and stress. And for those who have left the pastorate and now pursuing a different vocation, there are typically a host of negative emotions like shame/guilt and a sense of loss that follow.
It's reported that 1 in 4 pastors struggle with some mental health issue. To go a step further, the National Alliance on Mental Illness recently reported (2019) the following:
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34
Pastor, how are you addressing your own mental health problems? How are you addressing the mental health needs of your congregation?