Scotty Sauls, speaker at our Rooted conference and hosting the next Rooted conference in October, has written a great piece on the emotional toll of pastors. Like him, I’m blessed to be serve a congregation that understands my limitations and doesn’t make unrealistic demands on my family (praise God for the Advent), but the toll is still there.
The paragraph that sticks out to me is:
Studies show that pastors experience anxiety and depression at a rate that is disproportionately high compared to the rest of the population. Due to the unique pressures associated with spiritual warfare, unrealistic expectations from congregants and oneself, the freedom many feel to criticize and gossip about pastors with zero accountability (especially in the digital age), failure to take time off for rest and replenishment, marriage and family tensions due to the demands of ministry, financial strains and self-comparison, pastors are prime candidates for relational isolation, emotional turmoil, and moral collapse.
Though I think I have it better than most, the pressures remain. Most pressing for myself and many in full-time ministry is ‘the freedom many feel to criticize and gossip about pastors with zero accountability (especially in the digital age).’