Phil Monroe summarizes Michael Mackenzie’s AACC
Conference presentation on the most significant struggles in pastoral ministry

  1. Stress
  2. Burnout
  3. Marital Problems
  4. Sexual Problems (infidelity, porn, etc.)
  5. Depression
  6. Conflict (family or ministry).

The prime causes of these are:

  1. Isolation
  2. Unrealistic Expectations
  3. Poor Boundaries.

Phil wisely calls for deeper layers of these causes to be probed before listing Mark McMinn’s stress-prevention measures:

  1. Personal devotion to Christ (outside of sermon prep)
  2. Hobbies
  3. Exercise
  4. Regular time away
  5. A good marriage.

And he closes with the $64,000 question. But you’ll have to read his post to find out what that is!

In fact you’d do well to add his blog to your RSS list.

  • Dennis

    I lost my teaching pastor of the past few years this year, and would say I knew his struggles well enough to say that he’d cite #1,2,5,6 on the list, with at least the first two prime causes shown in your post. He simply lacked a strong enough advocate among our church leadership to stand behind him and help him succeed, and perhaps, was given to self-reliance either as a matter of his own temperament or of a loss of ability to trust anyone in his day-to-day working relationships. He’s not lost his love for the church but is currently not in the ministry.

    It is very elusive to understand and comprehend all that has happened; believing that God called him to ministry, believing in God’s sovereignty, standing firm in faithfully preaching from Scripture – and after two years of struggling with staff/elder relationships, to have had so much resistance, opposition, and unrealistic expectations upon him that he finally decided that the situation was beyond repair.

    Not only was my pastor a friend, but I believed so strongly in what he was doing at my church that I too have been angry, withdrawn, and depressed for a few months. And yet, none of this is any accident to God, and somehow beyond my understanding all of this is for His glory even if it challenges my developing but admittedly very limited “Calvinist” mindset!

  • Mark Loughridge

    Where’s Pride? Either as a problem or a cause?

    Surely it has to be the biggest problem, or maybe it’s just me!

    • David Murray

      Pride and other character issues are what Phil is talking about when he urges deeper probing of these causes.

  • Gary Reed

    I was at this workshop and a great presentation by the MacKenzies! This is a good outline of the workshop and their presentation spoke to me. Let’s get the word out about burnout prevention. A good website on burnout is Scott Couchenour’s:

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