Churches are dying, some of self-inflicted wounds. The collateral damage in ruined lives of ministers and their families pushes the casualty rate to obscene levels.
The end result is the continued attrition of persons willing to go into the pastorate of a local parish/congregation/call it what you want. We might start to get ready to do something because it takes us (in the Free Church) so long to start to get ready to do something we know must happen but would rather would not happen, so maybe we can just hold on until we die and then someone else can do the funeral.
I pause now for a breath.
No, it is not a laughing matter. On the other hand, you have to laugh to keep from crying.
What to do?
We might have to find ways to keep our older pastors longer. When I mention this, it is with the understanding I am about the average age of pastors nation-wide, perhaps a little on the youngish side, and I am just nearly 55. No, it is not old, but it sure ain't young. There are three things you can see from space; the Great Wall of China, the Panama Canal and the bald spot on the back of my head.
I have this over-sized head, anyway. If I get any balder, I am going to look like a thumb.
Ok, back now to the serious work, now that you have had a Monday laugh at my expense.
Admit it, though. You enjoyed it. Come on. You did.
How can we help our older guys/girls hang around longer? There are going to need some recharging time more regularly than when they were 35. If your pastor will not take a day off every week, you will need to make him/her do so. In fact, like some of the medical exams that come our way as required as we age (rubber glove, K-Y jelly, you do the math), time away from the pressures of the job is simply a life-saver.
A sixty year old, after working for two to three weeks at about seven days a week, from 7-12 hours per day, needs more than a day off. He/she may need an IV. He/she does not need a day off followed by three people asking him where he was on a given evening, since they finally decided to show up for something and did not happen to see him/her.
So, he/she needs a guilt free two days per week to study, loaf, kick back and just generally recharge. To get up and spill your guys in front of a crowd of any size three times a week is an absolute killer. Every major organ undergoes stress, you get to watch the whole human drama in microcosm and you know way too much to be comfortable. It is like running a marathon; aerobic, draining, oxygen debt pounding work. Try it 125 times a year, with an immediate critique afterward.
The speaker needs two days per week, three weeks per year off, just as far off as he/she can stand and a break in every day. He/she will still work an average of 55 to 60 hours per week for about 48 weeks of the year.
More later. Let the calumny begin.