Thursday, November 17, 2016

Did You Miss PAM in October?

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Did You Miss PAM in October?

            Pastor Appreciation Month on the corner of Lincoln and Main has been really good pour moi over the past few years.

            While I had my hip toss on October 18, our family of faith came through again with kindness and generosity accentuating a love affair that we share, endures, and will continue to attract people in Belvidere, Boone and Winnebago Counties, and beyond who are looking for love, safety, inclusion, and imperfect people praying and trying to follow Jesus by the book.

            Of course, it took a long time for us to, uh, mature. 

“Sometimes,” quoting a salty saint, “revival doesn’t mean bringing people in but getting the people out who don’t love Jesus and all His children.”

            It took almost 11 of 12 years to encourage people who hate in a Christian kinda way, bragged about First ___ (They put their name there!) Church, hated me for not being my predecessors, weren’t loyal to Jesus or each other (especially on the staff), gossiped about each other in vile ways that repelled people from thinking the church had anything to offer them, caused me to plead that they not tell anyone that I was their pastor because I didn’t want anyone to think they got what they got from me, played out jealous rivalries and my-way-or-the-highway attitudes, and all of the other things that have caused me to say don’t blame Jesus for some “Christians” who need some more Jesus in their lives to know that time had passed and the imperfect people gathering on the corner of Lincoln and Main were no longer going to enable them or look the other way; and when they left, the church became happier, holier, and much, much, much more invitational, welcoming, including, and loving.

            So every day is kinda fun as well as faithful at First since…we took the church away from them and gave it back to Jesus.

            In short, we’re having a love affair on the corner of Lincoln and Main that’s getting better and better and better beyond that annual PAM.

            Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for too many other pastors.

            I would estimate 9 of 10 pastors tell me that their churches never observe PAM in keeping with their shabby treatment of their pastors throughout the year.

            Dan Pope, the faithful and winsome pastor of Belvidere’s Open Bible Church and President of the Boone County Ministerial Association, shared some startlingly sad statistics with me about abused clergy in too many of today’s churches with behavior only coincidental to Christianity:

  • 23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their caree
  • 25% don’t know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
  • 25% of pastors’ spouses see work schedules as a source of conflict.
  • 13% of active pastors are divorced.
  • 33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry
  • 33% say being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
  • 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and unrealistic expectations. 
  • 45% of pastors’ spouses say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.
  • 45% of pastors’ spouses say they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
  • 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
  • 52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s well-being and health.
  • 56% of pastors’ spouses say they have no close friends.
  • 57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.
  • 70% of pastors say they don’t have any close friends.
  • 75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.
  • 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
  • 90% feel unqualified or poorly prepared for ministry.
  • 90% work more than 50 hours a week.
  • 94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.
  • 1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.


            It’s true.

            Too many pastors in too many churches are paid to be abused and the abusers are not held accountable by other members of the church or denominational executives and oversight committees as they hit, hurt, bruise, batter, and butcher.

            I know because I have been counseling lots of pastors for a long time; and that’s why “Blackhawk Presbyterians for Fidelity” asked me to be its pastor to pastors.

            It’s a tough job because the assault on today’s clergy is worse than ever before; but as I tell abused pastors and especially young women and men thinking of becoming pastors when dealing with the harsh reality of being a pastor in an increasingly mean and maddening world that sometimes overcomes the Word in churches, “What did you expect?  Jesus was the most loving man who ever lived and they nailed Him?  And don’t forget He warned you’d catch everything but heaven if you follow Him too closely!”

            Because I’ve been blessed with a family of faith getting our act together and no longer enabling such miscreance in a Romans 16:17-20 kinda way, I’ve been encouraged to care for clergy who have not been as fortunate.

            How about you?

            Did you miss PAM in October?

            It’s not too late to act like…Christians…even toward your pastor.

            One more thing.

            Aside from reading the Bible to be reminded that we’re supposed to treat each other with grace, mercy, forgiveness, and agape, it never hurts to discover what happens to those who mess with the anointed.


Blessings and Love!



Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!



Brian said...

Pastors also need to grow a SET and not tolerate mean treatment. We can set our own hours and not let people dictate our lives and families. We are not paid slaves to the church! We are Servants but not slaves, slave to Jesus but not the church.

Walton said...

It`s hard to believe a person calling Him or Her a Christian would be mean to a Pastor who is leading them to Jesus to be with him for all eternity. That`s really sad. I Pray that the people at Family of Faith are the best.
We have a good Pastor who really, Really, Really Cares Where we will Spend Eternity.
God Bless Everybody