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Why Every Leader Needs a Shepherd

Blog: Why

Every leader needs someone in his or her life that serves as a shepherd. After observing Christian leaders for 30 years, I compiled a list of 16 issues that I believe Christian leaders hide from others and often suffer alone.

  1. I’m really just average.
  2. I’m really not sure what I’m doing.
  3. I have hidden emotional issues, some of which is derived from my relationship with my biological father.
  4. I’m often motivated by self-glory.
  5. I’m battling sin constantly (and losing occasionally).
  6. I work way too much.
  7. I have an inconsistent spiritual life.
  8. People often get on my nerves.
  9. My marriage is average on a good day.
  10. I’m not sure how to be a good dad.
  11. I really don’t like my job but I’m stuck.
  12. I’m too young and inexperienced or my best days are behind me.
  13. I’m really uncomfortable around unchurched people.
  14. I don’t have a close friend.
  15. I rely on my position and guilt to get people to do things.
  16. I make decisions without prayer or consulting others.

Pastors deal with an array of emotions as a result of ministering to a group of people. The stress of preparing sermons, developing leaders, handling boards, raising funds for the budget, caring for the sick and elderly, encouraging the wayward, challenging people to get on mission, bringing unity, reconciling conflicts, conducting worship, handling facility issues, counseling, weddings, funerals, social functions, praying with others and the responsibility of having an exemplary marriage and family.

Some of the statistics that relate to pastors are staggering:[1]

  1. 25% have been forced out of or fired from their ministry.
  2. 90% feel inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands.
  3. 80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
  4. 45% say they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence.
  5. 40% have serious conflict with a church member 1x/month.
  6. 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
  7. 66% and their families feel pressure to model the ideal family to their congregations and communities.
  8. 20% admit to having an affair while in the ministry.
  9. 37% admit that Internet pornography is a current struggle.
  10. 72% stated they only studied the Bible when preparing a sermon
  11. 26% stated they felt they were adequately fed spiritually.
  12. 14% of pastors spend an hour or less in personal devotions each week.[2]
  13. 77% said they felt that did not have a good marriage. [3]

[1] Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffman, Preventing Ministry Failure (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Books, 2007), pg. 31, except where footnoted differently.
[2] Lifeway Research study of 1,000 pastors: “Pastors, Time-management, Stewardship” 2008, accessed on 5/21/2010 at
[3] From the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute. Accessed on 5/21/2010 at:


Buddy Eades

on Jul 12, 2010 :: 9:17 am

Thanks for the blog - I would highly recommend the following resource -
Pastor Forums are great and anonymous.

David Edmisten

on Jul 14, 2010 :: 2:57 pm

Great statistics. Who ever said a pastor is supposed to do everything? Have we forgotten 1 Corinthians 12? Not every one is gifted at everything. A great speaker/preacher is just that, and may not have the gifts of interpersonal relationship, planning, financial management or intercession. Should that stop them from preaching? I think we need reminding that the church is one body with many parts. How about a vision of churches know for the team of their leadership, rather than just their star?