I've struggled today with whether or not to post this. However, I've decided it is vital rational for this entire blog. It also explains the reason I have written The Runaway Pastor, and will help many to understand the plot of the book itself. You may read the first five chapters at the following link:
(Note: The following references partially assume that pastors are male. That is not the case in all settings, including in mine. The statistics however are both frightening and vital.)
"Depression and burnout are at epidemic proportions. If this were the case anywhere else in the world, there would be an incredible outcry. The September/October 2000 edition of Physician magazine reported that 80 percent of pastors and 84 percent of their spouses are discouraged or dealing with depression. Forty percent of pastors and 47 percent of their spouses say they are suffering from burnout. The norm among men in our country who are experiencing depression at any given time is about 10 percent. The norm among pastors is 40 percent."
Goodall continues: "To help me understand the role of stress in a pastor’s life, the executive leadership of the Assemblies of God asked me to participate in a 4-year think tank at Duke University called Pulpit and Pew. A book came out of that study entitled Pastors in Transition. I learned the primary reason pastors quit the ministry is conflict in the church. Conflict never goes away. Many pastors do not know how or when to deal with conflict. Conflict constantly hits them like a baseball bat on the head. They say: “I’ve had it. I’m going to do something different.” Unless church conflict is addressed along with the issues of burnout, stress, and depression, and the underlying causes creating these problems, the church will lose more and more of its fine pastors."
(Source: http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200603/200603_040_journey_pastors.cfm )
Coming Out of the Dark:
Two Pastors’ Journey Out of Depression
With Wayde I. Goodall And E. Glenn Wagner
In my new novel The Runaway Pastor, you can experience life through the eyes of a burned-out pastor. It is my desire to pastors learn to step-away for rest, before they run.
I think it's time this conversation gets a bit more public.
Jump in and comment. What are you thinking?