by Thom Rainer
I’ve heard it countless times from pastors: “I quit my job almost every Monday.” Of course, it’s typically a tongue-in-cheek statement regarding the letdown many pastors feel after Sunday. But most pastors say these words with a little bit of truth. They really do feel the struggles and challenges of being pastor more on Monday than most other days.
The title of this article could be “Six Reasons Pastors Want to Quit Their Jobs on Monday,” but I’ve chosen to take a different approach. I will give the six most common reasons I’ve heard for quitting, but then I’ll offer rejoinders that offer encouragement on why they should not quit.
- “I am emotionally spent after preaching on Sunday.” I understand fully. But don’t make hasty decisions or judgments after such an emotionally draining experience. Most people will never know what goes into sermon preparation and what it takes out of the pastor. Hang in there. God will restore your strength.
- “I have to prepare another sermon for next Sunday.” When you are a pastor who preaches one or more sermons each week, you rarely get a rest from the energy expended from the previous week. That’s the downside. But the upside is that God called you to preach. You actually have the incredible opportunity to communicate God’s Word to His people. See the bigger picture and the greater opportunity.
- “So many critics nitpicked at me on Sunday.” Yes, that’s too common. You have more of the members gathered at one time on Sunday, so it’s more likely you’ll get criticized by one or more of them. Just remember, God called you to serve a church of sinners. And remember you are a sinner too. Ask God to show you His love for these critics. It might give you a new perspective.
- “All of the faces I see on Sunday remind me of the huge responsibility I have.” It can indeed be overwhelming. You are called to shepherd so many persons with so many needs. I would advise you to quit except for one major factor. You are called to serve these people in God’s power, not your own. Give the burdens to Him.
- “We had a bad day Sunday.” How was your day bad? Low numbers? Did you feel like your sermon did not connect? Did some people say something that made you feel that way? Take a deep breath and see God’s perspective. You may be surprised to see how He was working on this so-called bad day. You may look back on this bad day as one of the best days of your ministry. Trust Him for that promise.
- “I am worn out.” You are more likely to feel that way on Monday than any other day. Pause for a moment. Ask God to refresh you. He will. That’s not my promise; it is His. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
There can be days, especially Mondays, when you might feel like quitting. No one can understand the demands on a pastor unless they have experienced it. But you were called by Him. You are sustained by Him. You have His promises.
Don’t quit. The best days of your ministry might be just ahead. It would be a shame if you missed them.
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of twenty-two books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, and Essential Church. His latest book, I Am a Church Member, hit #1 on the CBA best-seller list and Autopsy of a Deceased Church is scheduled to be released in 2014 by B&H Publishing Group.