Five pictures were chosen on the finishperiod home page. They were selected to portray the fragile emotional capacity of many of the ministers I have been privileged to work with over the past thirty-four years. Yes, of course there are many joys associated with service in a local congregation, denominational roles, and other places of ministry service. Underneath the Sunday morning veneers, however, are the less glamorous elements of Christian service. The reality is that many pastors and church staff members are discouraged, depressed, and contemplaing leaving the ministry for good. The research indicates that as many as 1,700 leave minsitry service every month. That is, every month. It's a staggering reality.
It's not the picture and a thousand words thing again! It's really a picture because there are no words. The catastrophic truth of so many individuals taking the off-ramp of ministry is beyond comprehension and expression. Few professional service categories report such volumnous exit numbers. And the stories behind the reality are heart breaking, the frustration, discouragement, family dysfunction, high expectations, and entrenched systems that push called people to the edge. So, the picture presented here today is to say what our words cannot always communciate. Ministry is hard. It weighs on those called to serve. Take note.
Today, pray for your pastor and church staff. If you're one of them, call a colleague and give them a word of encouragement. Let the picture speak words to you that are seldom spoken. Perhaps it wil compel you to finally say something about the tragedy of so many called people leaving His service.
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, ESV).