Over the past few months, I have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of friends and colleagues who are hanging up their ministry cleats and heading off into other professions and industries. I am not going to lie, it has been pretty depressing to watch so many gifted leaders come to the awful conclusion that the cost/benefit analysis of vocational ministry is coming up wanting.
Why is this happening? What is going on in the church and in the culture that is making vocational ministry completely unappealing? I am sure there are a number of reasons for this. But there is one reason that I have been mulling over and wondered if you agree.
I think that a number of Gen X and Millennial leaders are fleeing vocational ministry because the basic deal between pastor and congregation has become untenable for the pastor.
The simple way I see the past is this: Ministry has always been difficult. It is a high calling, a calling from God, a call to selfless service to the church and to work of expanding the Kingdom of God. It was ok to have low salaries, crazy work hours, committee meetings, and always being on call. It was even ok that it was mostly a thankless job and often pastors had little fruit to show for their years of faithful service. Planning and watering was the faithful call, and trusting that God would use their efforts to cause faith to grow was their hope! It was hard and thankless work, but a noble calling!