Many clergy are leaving or considering leaving ministry. Last March, Barna Research reported that 42 percent of pastors had considered quitting full-time ministry in the past year, compared with 21 percent in January 2021. The Washington Post, Sojourners, NPR, and Christianity Today have all published articles on the phenomenon. Denominations need to understand the reasons for this change and make supporting ministers a top priority.
What Should a Minister Be Good At, Post-Pandemic?
In 2014, I wrote a post outlining eight managerial skills ministers should be good at. Today, I want to add another skill in light of the pandemic—ministers need to know how to receive criticism appropriately. Skilled ministers need to remember that it’s not always the minister or the church that people are upset with.
Realigning Pastors’ Time Post-Covid
As I talk with pastors, it is clear that many of them are not going back to their pre-Covid time schedules. They are reallocating time spent on worship, education, governance, mission, and administration to align with new, post-Covid realities. Some are doing this intentionally; others are just winging it. As a rule, intentionality will bring better results than winging it!
“Maybe I Don’t Want to Do This Hard Thing”
Talking with another clergyperson recently, we bemoaned the current spike in COVID-19 infections and the Delta variant. Congregations were moving in the direction of “opening up” again for indoor worship and activities. All systems were go, it seemed.
But then many congregations, in an abrupt retreat, slowed down or modified reopening plans. The ink on books about the “post-pandemic church” was hardly dry as we found ourselves thinking about a possible longer arc of this health crisis.
Suddenly my colleague blurted out, “Maybe I don’t want to do this hard thing.”
Relocating the Clergy Ego
As a young minister, I often wondered, “How am I doing?” It was a good question! But at midlife I began to ask, “How am I helping others to succeed?”
At moments of re-centering, we can follow a renewed sense of calling.
Should the Leader Advocate for Change?
Clergy often try to change their congregations, and a rule, their efforts meet resistance. It hurts to be seen as a threat by the very people you are trying to serve, but when a leader’s first move is to advocate for change, that’s generally what happens.