Why Pastors Quit

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

I was recently tagged in a post about why pastors are walking away from ministry by the droves. One pastor counted 19 of his pastor friends who quit in just over a year. Here’s why I think most pastors quit based on my own experience and from other conversations w/ pastors from around the country. Each case is different but here are a few reasons:

1. Vast majority of conversations are emotional and draining. This depletes your mental health.

2. Rarely do people talk to you when their life is “up.” They mostly call you when things are “down.” AND most people just want an ear but don’t want to do the hard work to change.

3. Everyone has an opinion and they want you to know.

4. People think because you are a spiritual leader you should have the answer for everything, like why won’t my computer connect to the printer!!

5. Pastors are CEO’s paid like custodians. If pastors took the skills to lead a church into corporate America they’d be making close to 6 figures or more. Not worth it. Imagine leading a company of 200 employees but making $35k.

6. TOO MANY COMMITTEES!!! Pastors cannot lead. If a congregation brings in a new pastor you’ve chosen to yield your power to the new pastor. Either let your pastor lead & get out of their way or keep leading by committee going nowhere. But you can’t have both.

7. People are VERY FICKLE. The people that are super eager and quick to jump on board and “all for you” are the first to walk away.

8. Pastors spend their intellect, emotional, and physical reservoirs into the local church only to hear, “We would but we have to spread gravel today.” But they’ve known about this big church event for weeks. While the pastor feels lonely and no one is on board. – Haggai 1:3,4

9. No one to talk too. Pastors, especially church planters, tend to be mavericks. While this is good, it’s also bad. It is a double edge sword, much to our own demise.

10. You have family problems too BUT be sure to be there for my family issues. Because “The pastor never called me back!!”

11. People do not value the local church like they use too. “My kids play travel ball.” “I have to go do this or that…” But how will learning to swing a bat at 11 save their marriage at age 35 or which high scoring game will help them navigate emotions when a friend dies?

12. Our focus (yes pastors are at fault here) has been on Process & Programs over Spirit and Obedience.

13. The pressure to “grow the church” and be like the mega-church down the street. All while people leave their smaller churches to go to mega-churches. Think what a big box store (Wal-Mart) does to mom & pop small local business. Same affect in church. As a result pastors “should on themselves” too much. (I should be like…; We should…)Too many people want a chaplain and not a pastor. Chaplains are at your beck and call, pastors are not. Pastors are trained to understand scripture and hear God and grow a church. Chaplains are trained to sit in when someone dies or going through crisis. On the other hand I specifically know of a local mega church pastor who said if he had to do it all over again he’d skip seminary and theology and get a business degree to run the church. (Thats probably speaks to another issue but we’ll not go there.)

What are some reasons you’ve heard of pastors walking out?