Every New Year brings new opportunities

Jimmy Dodd |

Dear Friends,

Every New Year brings new opportunities. At PastorServe, we are excited about what lies ahead in 2020. At the same time, we were recently reminded that unprecedented challenges lie ahead which demand prayer, partnership and a renewed commitment to extend the reach of this ministry. 

Every so often, a story regarding the challenges faced by pastors works its way into the national press. And when it does, it only highlights the need for PastorServe. Recently, African American Pastor Howard-John Wesley of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia shocked his church when he announced that he would step away from ministry for a season. A gifted leader, he explained the reason for his decision was because he felt far from God, tired in his soul and he needed to recuperate mentally and physically. I applaud Pastor Wesley for his honesty as I know many pastors who are far from God and ministering with tired souls. They too need a place to go to find hope, encouragement and rest. 

Pastor Wesley said, “There has not been a day these past eleven years that I have not woken up knowing that there is something I have to do for the church…. I have to be on call 24/7…I am tired. I am running on empty.” He went on to say, “There is an unhealthy addiction to standing in that pulpit.”

CBS, quoting a recent Lifeway pastors survey reported that 54% of pastors feel as if their job is overwhelming. Not merely difficult or challenging – but overwhelming!

The story caught the attention of CBS News and they ran a story on Pastoral Burnout on December 18. They stated that while the church is growing, the growth comes at a high cost. The demands of the pastoral ministry are increasingly creating greater amounts of stress in pastors causing them to feel overwhelmed. In an interview with CBS’ James Brown, Pastor Wesley said, “That collar does not grant you any immunity from mental disease, depression and anxiety.” CBS, quoting a recent Lifeway pastors survey reported that 54% of pastors feel as if their job is overwhelming. Not merely difficult or challenging – but overwhelming! 33% feel isolated. 71% have no plan for their pastor to periodically rest. 

I had several responses to the CBS story. First, the church in America is not growing. Denominational leaders recently reported that between 75% and 80% of American evangelical churches are flat or declining – only increasing the stress referenced by Pastor Wesley. To be sure, the pressure on pastors to grow the church is resulting in unprecedented levels of stress and burnout. Second, I applaud the raw honestly of Pastor Wesley. He said that being open has freed him. And as a result, he no longer feels like he has to be Superman. He doesn’t have to be perfect. He can just be himself. That is powerful! And third, I appreciate CBS putting the focus on the needs of pastors. James Brown closed his piece with these powerful words. “The pressures of being a pastor are immense indeed, no matter how big the flock.” 

Every day, PastorServe has direct contact with dozens of pastors just like Pastor Wesley. We serve pastors who are tired in mind, body and spirit. We walk with pastors looking for that place to be honest about the void in their soul. 

Thank you for your partnership with PastorServe in 2019. We have ministered to thousands of pastors across the USA and Haiti because of the generosity of friends like you. 

Please help us start 2020 on a strong financial footing. In 2020, we need partners like you to join with us as we Strengthen the Church by Serving Pastors. We need friends like you to join with us to seize the incredible opportunities before us. Through your continued partnership, we continue to minister to thousands of pastors who desperately need to hear the message of Gospel Grace. We could not do the work of this ministry apart from friends like you. Thank you!!

Grace and Peace in Jesus

Jimmy Dodd

Strengthen Your Church

Strengthening your church, for us, begins by serving you, the pastor!