80 percent believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively. 33 percent say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family. 75 percent report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. 50 percent feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
90 percent feel they’re inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands. • 25 percent of pastors’ wives see their husband’s work schedule as a source of conflict. • Those in ministry are equally likely to have their marriage end in divorce as general church members. • The clergy has the second highest divorce rate among all professions. • 80 percent of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse. • 56 percent of pastors’ wives say that they have no close friends. • 45 percent of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout. • 52 percent of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s well-being and health. • 45.5 percent of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry. • 70 percent do not have someone they consider a close friend.
Such are the statistics which Wayne Cordeiro quotes near the beginning of his book. Statistics which are both, simultaneously frightening and not surprising. Pastoral ministry is a privilege, honor and a blessing, but it is also tough. It is demanding. And, unless ministers are wise and aware, it can destroy us, and our families.
Cordeiro himself came close to being destroyed by ministry. His own journey through burnout, depression and ‘leading on empty’ is the foundation of this book.
Cordeiro has produced a book that should be on the book shelf of every seminary student and pastor. Knowing how to manage yourself and the demands of ministry is so important. Knowing what God has called you to do and to live intentionally in that calling; willing to delegate and assign tasks that others can do and when to take time out, and away, to be with God and to seek him. What are your priorities in the limited hours of a day and how you must make time for family and yourself.
There is some wonderful wisdom in this book; wisdom we as ministers should chew on:.
A leader’s greatest asset is not necessarily time. It is energy. A person with energy can accomplish more in four hours than another would in four days.
[My] Number One [priority] Is My Daily Devotions.
Steward your energy well, and in seasons of dismay, you will still have enough of a reservoir to lead.
Healthy marriages require intentionality and planned investment. So will your waistline, your family, your ministry, your faith, and your emotional health. The Scriptures exhort us to “run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). It is not automatic.
I thoroughly recommend this work.