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How the Pandemic is Affecting Pastors

Pastors and church leaders are facing the most difficult and challenging times of their ministerial life. The pressures of life in 2020 has impacted every church and pastor. More churches than ever will be shutting down this year. According to Thom Rainer, more pastors are quitting the ministry than at any time he has seen. Recently, Rainer brought up the issue of discouragement and why pastors are leaving the ministry.

1. Pastors are weary from the pandemic, just like everyone else. Pastors are not super humans. They miss their routines. They miss seeing people as they used to do so. They would like the world to return to normal, but they realize the old normal will not return.

2. Pastors are greatly discouraged about the fighting taking place among church members about the post-quarantine church. Gather in person or wait? Masks or no masks? Social distancing or not? Too many church members have adopted the mindset of culture and made these issues political fights. Pastors deal daily with complaints about the decisions the church makes.

3. Pastors are discouraged about losing members and attendance. For sure, it’s not all about the numbers. But imagine your own mindset if one-half or more of your friends stopped engaging with you. And pastors have already heard directly or indirectly from around one-fourth of the members that they do not plan to return at all.

4. Pastors don’t know if their churches will be able to support ministries financially in the future. In the early stages of the pandemic, giving was largely healthy. Church members stepped up. Government infusion of funds for businesses and consumers helped as well. Now, the financial future is cloudy. Can the church continue to support the ministries they need to do? Will the church need to eliminate positions? These issues weigh heavily on pastors.

5. Criticisms against pastors have increased significantly. One pastor recently shared with me the number of criticisms he receives are five times greater than the pre-pandemic era. Church members are worried. Church members are weary. And the most convenient target for their angst is their pastor.

6. The workload for pastors has increased greatly. Almost every pastor with whom we communicate expresses surprise at their level of work since the pandemic began. It really makes sense. They are trying to serve the congregation the way they have in the past, but now they have the added responsibilities that have come with the digital world. And as expected, pastoral care needs among members have increased during the pandemic as well. (From Rainer’s article- 6 Reasons Why Your Pastor is About to Quit).

Still Waters Renewal ministry is committed to be a safe place where pastors and church leaders can find rest and renewal. We offer pastors a safe place and opportunity for getting away from the pressures of life and ministry. My father managed a Rest Camp in Italy during World War II. This was for soldiers in the midst of battle who were provided a place to get away.

Still Waters provides such a place at no cost for any and every church leader who needs to get away. Sign up now for one of our retreat weeks at Moro Bay State Park. We have a place for you to come away and rest awhile.

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