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The question almost made me laugh. The pastor asked me if I ever considered quitting when I was a pastor. My response was quick and truthful: “Yes. On the average about once a week.”

If you are a pastor who has not considered quitting, you are likely in the minority. And certainly there are times when we should leave. But, if your desire to quit is the result of the typical challenges of pastoring, allow me to share nine thoughts that may lead you to reconsider.

  1. Many storms pass quickly. I can remember times when I thought the world was crashing in on me. But, in a matter of a few weeks, the storm had passed. Many of the crises of the moment will become faded memories of the past.
  2. It’s probably not you. Those critics and dissidents see you as a convenient target. They may not really be frustrated at you. But you are the most visible place to unload. It’s probably another issue, and not you.
  3. The vast majority of the congregation supports you. I know. I’ve seen travesties where a pastor has been forced out by vengeful staff members and misguided personnel committees. But most of the time the minority does not have that power. Remember that the majority of the church members love and support you.
  4. Remember your call. You likely have a clear recollection of the time God called you to ministry and to this church. Remember that call. At times, it’s what you need to hang in there.
  5. Longer-term pastors see better days. Sometimes it takes years to earn the leadership trust of the congregation. One of the gifts many pastors need is the gift of perseverance.
  6. Hurting church members often hurt others. Among those “others” are you, their pastor. Their grief and pain can unfortunately be directed at you.
  7. It’s not better in other churches. Many pastors get the green grass syndrome. They move from church to church trying to find the church without problems, critics, and challenges. That church does not exist.
  8. The changing culture frustrates many church members. They remember the “good old days” where almost everyone went to church and change was minimal. They are frustrated and fearful, and they often see you as the problem.
  9. God is with you. I know you grasp this truth theologically, but you may need to pause to assimilate it experientially. God called you. God loves you. He will not abandon you.

While I focused on the pastor for these nine thoughts, it applies to all of you in vocational ministry. Serving a church can be tough. But you have been called to a ministry of service even to the “least of these.” And the least of these can include those who are giving you the biggest headaches.

What do you think of these nine thoughts? What would you add? Let me hear from you.

Thom Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources and the co-author of Transformational Church: Creating a New Scorecard for Congregations.
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Dave Tredway

commented on Jul 30, 2015

BE SECURE IN YOUR CALLING, IT ENABLES YOU TO RIDE OUT THE STORMS. WHAT WE DO, IS FOR JESUS. WE HAVE THE AUDIANCE OF ONE

Juan Egana Ii

commented on Jul 30, 2015

Brenda Eldridge

commented on Jul 30, 2015

Thank you so very much for this reminder. I am serving as a minister right now and just had this thought last Sunday. I am going to post this in my study.

Ricky Forkum

commented on Jul 30, 2015

This is a on time word for me. I've been challenged to quit. The challenge isn't people or situations in the church. It's just me and my inward struggles. Thank you for these encouraging words n,

Mitchell Leonard

commented on Jul 30, 2015

Once again Brother Thom you have given a message of hope to me. Thank you.

Arowolo Akintunde

commented on Jul 30, 2015

Pastor Thom your message came to me at right time. I have just decided to change my church as a result of some of those things you mention but I will have a rethink over the decision. Thank you

Juan Rivera

commented on Jul 30, 2015

Point number 5 is spot-on. Pastors begin to see reap the benefits of their labor and persistence to stay the course into their 5th year. Unfortunately, many quit between their 3rd and 4th.

Clando Brownlee

commented on Jul 31, 2015

A man to that I've been pastoring for many years and I can't remember how many Monday mornings I've been ready to quit but I must keep reminding myself that He's never bought me to a place where failure was the only option.

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