I know firsthand the struggles of being a pastor, and not only do I know the struggles well but so do my wife and our two sons. A pastor's wife and children are not immune from the difficulties, hurts, pain, and heartache of ministry life. Corner my wife Teresa and ask her about the stress of being a pastor's wife and you no doubt will get an ear full. Of course from a pastor's point of view, I know of the pain many pastors attempt to bury, trying to hide it from themselves and others. And when the stress and struggles become too much to bear, it's easy for suicidal thoughts to slip into our thinking.
Don't get me wrong, there are many, many blessings of being called by God to serve as a pastor in the local church. Throughout our years in the pastorate, Teresa and I can easily recall the names of former members who made our time with them very joyful (Hebrew 13:17). But the reality is that pastors and their families will often suffer in silence, or better yet, secret because of the need to feel almost perfect before their congregants, and sometimes before other pastors (Article: The Curse of Competition). Now, it isn't uncommon for pastors to entertain thoughts of perfectionism, but all too often some members and church leaders help solidify the idea.
Back to the article on Paige Hilken for just a moment. I'm not stating that Paige committed suicide due to some ministry issue she or her husband were experiencing in the church. Clearly, the article points to several health-related issues including her mental health struggles with postpartum depression. My point is that pastors, pastor wives, and their children routinely believe they have no place to turn, or no one they can share their pain with and expect all to remain confidential. Ministry life can be very lonely, and more often than not it's lonely because of deep-seated fears about being removed from the ministry altogether.
If you get nothing else from my rambling here, please get this, pastors and their families need more than a livable wage and our prayers. Pastors and their families need our understanding when they appear frail, they need our friendship, a compassionate heart, and a non-condemning ear to listen. These ministers of grace who devote their lives to loving God's people well are hurting, and I don't want another one to commit suicide or walk away from the ministry because the pain is too great. We need them to walk with us, and they need us to do the same for them. We are our brother's and sister's keepers (1 Peter 3:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:9).
If you agree with me that our pastors and their families need our support, would you please commit to helping me and the ministry of Christ-Centered Solutions. We need you to join with us to be a blessing to our pastors and their wives by providing the confidential support they need. Please consider becoming a monthly Ministry Partner with us. Even if you can't become a monthly Ministry Partner at this time you can help by sharing this blog with your pastor, a deacon, or another church leader, and encourage them to contact me about visiting your church to tell other Christians about the ministry of Christ-Centered Solutions.
You can email by clicking here if you'd like to contact me about coming to your church, ministry, or business.
You can also reach me by phone in South Carolina by calling our main office at (843) 829-0970, or in North Carolina at our Wilmington office (910) 399-6714
Lastly, if you or a friend are considering suicide please call Christ-Centered Solutions or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Blessings dear friend,