Is There an Emerging Pastor Crisis in America? : Jimmy Dodd
Are we slipping into a pastor crisis here in the United States? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Jimmy Dodd, founder, and CEO of Pastor Serve. Pastor Serve comes alongside pastors and ministry leaders through coaching, consulting, crisis care, and soul care. Jimmy is also the author of several books, including the best-selling Survive or Thrive. Together, Jimmy and Jason look at some recent research and assess the current realities of pastoring here in the United States. Then, they look at some incredible places of hope, where you can find support and encouragement as you serve in ministry.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
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Additional Resource Links
Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs – In Survive or Thrive, Jimmy Doddy reveals that the majority of pastors are not known-by anyone. They purposely isolate themselves from both staff and congregation so their insecurities, doubts, and failures aren’t exposed. Yet confiding in the wrong person can be a dead-end at best and disastrous at worst. PastorServe’s President & Founder Jimmy Dodd reveals how those in pastoral ministry can receive ongoing support, accountability, and restoration from a boss, counselor, trainer, mentor, coach, and good friend. Discover how you can move from surviving to thriving with the six relationships every pastor needs.
Pastors Are People Too: What They Won’t Tell You but You Need to Know – What are your top twenty expectations for your pastor? Now multiply your list by the number of people who attend church with you. Is it any wonder pastors are overwhelmed and underappreciated?
They’re expected to know every member by name, preach a “home run sermon” every Sunday, condemn sin without hurting anyone’s feelings, and be available to serve others 24/7 while not neglecting their own family. The intensity of these expectations and lack of appreciation can and does bring the majority of pastors to a place of despair and ultimately departure from pastoral ministry. This practical field guide offers tangible ways to better understand and care for the pastor who cares so deeply about you
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- The pandemic was a magnifying glass to the issues already present in the Church and in ministry leadership
- The unrealistic expectations of pastors have grown over the years, as have many pastors’ sense of discouragement and frustration
- There has been an acceleration into post-Christendom since the pandemic
- Similar to what is currently happening in police forces, the pastoral field is facing a crisis where there are many leaving pastoral ministry and fewer entering.
- Even though they often do not receive as much publicity, there are amazing stories and things happening with pastors every day
- Throughout the history of the Church there have been challenging times for pastors. This current climate is not something new, but it is different from challenging times in the past.
- Pastors that thrive in ministry have an intentional and specific team of trusted people surrounding them.
- Shame often keeps pastors from seeking out a safe place to share their secrets and shortcomings. But shame is a tool the enemy uses against pastors to hinder them from healthy relationships and the help they need.
- Without intentionally working on emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health, ministry leaders will easily burn out.
- Coaching provides pastors and ministry leaders a safe space to process through things that they are unable, or may not feel comfortable, discussing with others.
- Community is a gift from God for every ministry leader and should be leaned into and embraced.
Questions for Reflection
- Where am I noticing frustrations or discontentment in the lives of pastors and ministry leaders? Do I see this as a growing trend in the Church? What is contributing to this?
- Have I myself grown more dissatisfied with my vocation as a pastor? If so, why? If not, what do I think has kept me from being in the same downward trend many pastors are experiencing?
- What challenges in ministry have been magnified since the pandemic? Have I noticed any positive changes or growth in any areas? If so, what and where?
- In the midst of many negative stories in the ministry field, what is a positive story I can bring to mind to encourage myself and others?
- Do I have an intentional team surrounding me, including a coach? If so, who makes up that team? Do they work together and ask me hard questions?
- What roadblocks (mental, practical, logistical, etc.) do I have to building a team of trusted people around me as I serve in ministry? How can I work through these roadblocks?
- What other safe and life-giving relationships do I have in my life right now?
- When have I felt the tendency to hide parts of myself due to shame? Is it something that I still do and why?
- Where do I find my self-worth?
- How can I keep my eyes on Jesus and what he has called me to in the midst of accusations and challenging times?
Are we slipping into a pastor crisis here in the United States?
In this episode, I’m joined by Jimmy Dodd, founder, and CEO of Pastor Serve. Pastor Serve comes alongside pastors and ministry leaders through coaching, consulting, crisis care, and soul care. Jimmy is also the author of several books, including the best-selling Survive or Thrive. Together, Jimmy and I look at some recent research and assess the current realities of pastoring here in the United States. Then, we look at some incredible places of hope, where you can find support and encouragement as you serve in ministry. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello friends and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye. And every single week, I have the privilege of sitting down with a trusted ministry leader. And we dive into a conversation, all in an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace a healthy sustainable rhythm for both life and ministry. We’re proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. And every single week, along with the episode that you’re watching or listening to now, our team also creates a toolkit that you can download that you can work through yourself, with the ministry leadership in your local church, to really dig more deeply into the topic that we discuss. And you can find that at PastorServe.org/network. There, you’ll find a lot of different resources, including a Ministry Leaders Growth Guide, again, with questions for reflection, things that you can work through yourself and with your ministry leaders. So please be sure to check that out. And then at Pastor Serve, we have a heart for pastors and ministry leaders. Over 20 years, we’ve been serving you coming alongside of you, and our team of trusted, experienced coaches would love to offer you a complimentary coaching session. So if you want to have someone to talk to, to process through some things, and maybe make some progress on some of the things that you are wrestling with as a pastor, as a ministry leader, you can get a complimentary coaching session with one of our coaches. You can find out more details for that and register for that at PastorServe.org/freesession. So be sure to check that out as well. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube, it’s good to have you along. Please take a moment to give us a thumbs up, to hit the notification bell. And also in the comments below please drop your name and the name of your church. We love to get to know our audience better. And our team will be praying for you and for your ministry. Whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe, to follow. We don’t want to miss out on any of these great conversations. And I am very, very excited to be joined by a good friend, founder of Pastor Serve, Jimmy Dodd. Jimmy, welcome to FrontStage BackStage.
Thanks, Jason. Great to be on with you as always.
It’s so good to have you. What’s kind of cool, right about this time as we’re recording this, we’re hitting right around one year of FrontStage BackStage, week after week hanging out with pastors and ministry leaders. So it’s it’s good to see how God has used this ministry and this resource over the last year. And we’re looking forward to many, many more conversations in the years to come.
And we are very excited about it. You’ve done a fantastic job. I mean, you’ve just done such a great job. We’ve had such great conversations. And it has been very, very insightful. As a matter of fact, I just spoke with a guy last week that just said, you know, I just don’t want to say this out loud. Because I have a lot of friends who do a lot of podcasts, but he said yours is the best, it is the best podcast. It’s just like a cut above everybody else’s, because I learn so much, I grow so much. And so I am just immensely grateful for you. You know, it’s always interesting, because I’m asked every so often. It’s kind of weird that you’re the CEO and founder and you don’t do the podcast. And I’m like, well, let me explain you why don’t do the podcast. Because Jason is experienced. He’s smarter than I am. He’s better looking than I am. He’s more well spoken than I am. And that and about 15 other things. I think he’s probably the right person to be the host. So, I mean, you’ve done an amazing job. We’re so proud of this podcast. Because every week I listen to it and I’m like, okay, that was… man, that was powerful for me. I feel like every week, there are things I grow when I learn, and so it’s been really rich. I’m grateful for you, and just everything you’ve done.
I appreciate that brother, and it’s a joy to be a part of this. And God has brought some really cool guests on. We’ve entered in some amazing conversations over the last year, and it’s a privilege and honor to be a part of that. So thanks, brother. You know, what’s kind of interesting is as we kind of look back over the past year, just kind of thinking of how a lot of the conversations that we’ve had on the podcast, have touched upon, you know, what we’re experiencing, obviously, as pastors and ministry leaders. And a lot of its come out of, you know, the pandemic. You know, the pandemic was such a huge thing and all the things in addition to the pandemic. I mean, we had racial tensions, big racial tensions, dealing with political tensions, right? Political divisions, and it just the climate has changed so rapidly, then you throw a… hey, let’s throw a global pandemic on top of all that. It just craziness. Right? And we know as pastors and ministry leaders because we do this day in and day out, working with them, coaching, mentoring, consulting with you know, church teams, staffs, and everything else. Working with pastors and churches going through crisis. I mean, this is what we do at Pastor Serve. We know that the pressures and everything and just the challenges that pastors have faced and I think that we all were praying and hoping that, man, once the pandemic, we get a little further away from the pandemic certainly things will kind of shift a little bit in the world of the pastor here in the US. And yet, Jimmy, Barna, our good friends at Barna, just released a new report, a new survey research that they had done. This is fresh, just a few weeks old, where they, you know, they surveyed pastors, right, kind of in the midst of the pandemic. And as you know, the first year of the pandemic, they went back and re-surveyed. And actually, what they learned was that rather than, you know, hey, this was kind of a bump in the road and things are moving, moving back up, that actually, that it has decreased. Pastoral confidence has decreased. Those pastors who say they feel very satisfied with their vocation, as a pastor, are very satisfied with their ministry at their current church. Those have decreased from 2020 to 2022. Continuing to decrease. Not really the numbers that we were hoping for. But honestly, Jimmy, you and I have a lot of conversations. We’re not completely surprised by these results. So Jimmy, talk to us a little bit about kind of the state of the church and pastoral confidence and in those things that pastors are really wrestling with and what we see happening right now.
Yeah, gosh, it’s a great question. And I think that there are some that think, okay, we thought that this would just be a big, big, kind of like a bump in the road. And it’s very clear now that this was not a bump in the road. I think that what this was, I think it’s a lot. Guys, I think it’s a lot like Christmas, I think the Christmas is oftentimes a big, big, it’s like a big, big magnifying glass. Because if you’re in pain, it’s worse at Christmas. I mean, like, if you’re depressed, it’s worse at Christmas. You’ve just lost your job, it’s worse at Christmas. If you have cancer, it’s worse at Christmas. But if you’re happy, I mean it’s magnified Christmas, Man and you’re I mean, like, if you’re in love, and it’s a new thing, and it’s magnified at Christmas. And so I think it’s a magnifying glass. But I think that there are those things that are there. And they’re always underlined, and then Christmas magnifies them. I think that the pandemic was a magnifying glass. And so I don’t think that we hit this bump in the road and that we’re back down. I think it’s been on the way down for a long time. And I think that the pandemic, it just magnified it. It’s just, no these things have been there. And these trends have been there. And these have been underlying things for a long time as we watch this over the years. And I think that the pandemic was just that big magnifying glass of, No, this is actually really bad. And I think that the magnifying glass is going down now. And yet it’s still there. It’s like, well, I was depressed before Christmas. I was really depressed at Christmas, but I’m still depressed after Christmas. And so I think it’s well, you know what, it was trending down before the pandemic and magnified it and it’s still trending down. Because I think that there is widespread discouragement, there is frustration, there is disillusionment. There is I mean, I hear over and over again, it’s like man, I did not sign up for this. I think that there are expectations on pastors, which are massively unrealistic. I think that those have grown over the years, that that has not gone away. And now that the pandemic is slowed down, they’re still those expectations. It’s a long list. And so I would say that, I mean, like the trend has been there for a long time. It was just magnified. But it’s still been going in like the wrong direction. And I think that you could make a really strong argument, it’s been going in the wrong direction for decades and decades and decades.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting that that magnification or, and even a bit of an acceleration, to a degree. So I think it magnified it. I think it also accelerated some things that were already inevitably happening, as we’re slipping into post Christendom. When we look at across the pond and our friends in the in the UK and in Europe. You know, we’re definitely living in post Christendom and we were kind of moving in that direction. And it almost seems like the pandemic accelerated that movement as well. And kind of pushed us further down the road than maybe we would have been. So that combination of magnification, acceleration, really has put us in a place where as pastors and ministry leaders, and serving local churches, and the work that we do coming alongside pastors. Really, the challenges are… challenges have always been there. That’s the thing in ministry. You and I both served for decades as lead pastors ourselves, you know, challenges are always, that’s part of ministry. Ministry is, because the enemy does not want us to be effective in living out the mission of God, right? I mean, we’ve got the enemy against us. So there’s always these challenges however, they have, like you said, been magnified, they have accelerated. One of the things I think is somewhat fascinating is we can have these conversations, and people even watching along right now, if you’re a pastor, you’re like, Oh, my goodness, you know, this is horrible. Thanks a lot, Jason and Jimmy. But the reality is, there is great hope in the midst of this. As much as we see, and as much as we feel, right, as pastors as ministry leaders. As much as we feel like our confidence in our vocation, our confidence in our, you know, satisfaction in ministry, where we are right now in our current ministry assignment, our satisfaction in the vocation of being a pastor. Even though that might be waning. It does not have to be that way. We know this, Jimmy, because we and we have coaches all across the country who are meeting with pastors encouraging and seeing great growth, and great things happen in the midst of challenging times So Jimmy, I would love for you to speak a little bit to, we kind of understand the crisis that’s coming up. And again, we’re getting to the Hope everyone’s so hanging with us. But Jimmy, you and I have talked. You shared recently, we’re in a call in a meeting with some other ministry leaders from across the country. And you were talking a little bit about this, this crisis, and you likened it to what we’re seeing in policing right now. And I thought that was such a great, you know, when you said that I literally am taking notes as you’re talking. And I was like, that’s such a great example. So help us kind of, you know, think through and reflect upon what we see happening in the, you know, pastoral field, the vocation of pastors in relation to to like what we see in policing.
Yeah. And I would say that there is some really good news on the way in this podcast, at least, I hope. So don’t just think, Oh, my goodness, this is all bad news. Because I think that this is, I think that this is actually a bit discouraging. But I think that there is a pastoral crisis that we have not actually seen yet. I think it’s coming. And it’s going to come in some waves which grow bigger and bigger. Because right now there’s a crisis in the police force. And the crisis is that they have a lots and lots of empty academies. Because you have more and more police officers saying, I don’t want that role, because it just feels like a lose lose. It’s interesting. And I don’t know exactly when this will air. But it’s interesting, because I think that the, just like the crisis in Nashville will do more to help the police force than then like anything for oh, my gosh, for years and years. Because it’s the first time that we’ve seen, oh yeah, that was absolutely the right way to do it. They’re heroes, you know, that they’re amazing people. Because I think that you’ve had this tremendous discouragement of people saying, Wow, the last thing in the world, I would want to be as a police officer, because it’s all criticism, there’s almost no thanks. It seems like, you know, there’s more and more defund the police and all of these things. And I, gosh, I just would not want to be that person. And so now you’re seeing cities that are saying, Hey, listen, we’re in crisis, because we have got retiring police officers and people leaving. And we don’t have the young people to step into those roles now. And so we’ve gotten more and more gaps, and those gaps will only grow over the years. So there’s this massive crisis in the police force. It’s the same thing right now with pastors. I mean, like enrollment has gone down and, you know, school after school after school. And I mean, you know, that there have been some big Bible colleges and seminaries that I mean, over the past, gosh, only about 10 years are about half as big. Because there has just been this growing sense of disillusionment with pastoral ministry. And so you’ve seen more pastors say, Hey, listen, I don’t know if we can find anybody to actually stepped into my role. And I’m about to retire. I was just with a pastor, from a big, big denomination. And he said, we’re in trouble. Because to be, you know, actually in our churches, you have to go to school in our schools. And we have to change that rule. We have to, because we don’t have the people there right now. And we’ve gotten more and more just of these open pulpits in some really key churches, and we can’t find people who have gone through our process. So we’re going to have to change our rules. But I think that that’s a growing thing. It’s like, I think that there are more and more young people that think, Why in the world would I want to be a pastor? Because my pastor said, let’s keep our masks on and there were so many people that just jumped on him, were screaming and yelling and violent, on and on. They said, Okay, okay, well, let’s take our masks off. And then there was another group that was screaming and yelling and you don’t care about people. And I think that there were just a lot of young people that watched that and said, Wow, I don’t think I want to be a pastor, I don’t think I want to put myself in that place. I think that there’s a crisis coming. And you hope that like Nashville, you hope there’s something that’s going to be so positive for pastors that it’s just going to read in on the, you know, there’s going to be this. Gosh, that was a great story. I think I do want to be a pastor. And so, you know, the thing that we see, actually, Jason, is that we do see some great stories. We see some amazing stories with pastors, the thing that’s oftentimes hard is that so many of those stories are confidential, that we can’t just share. But we do want to just say that there are some great things with pastors happening. There’s some amazing stories. That there are some stories of just massive transformation in the lives and an overall communities and cities. And so we want just to really, really encourage young people, this is still a high calling. This is still a great calling, we encourage you that if you felt that call to go towards pastoral ministry, because we desperately need that.
Yeah, yeah. No, I totally agree. And, you know, it’s interesting, because even before the pandemic, we were in the US, we were behind the population growth when it came to church planting and having pastor serving, you know. So we were already, you know, in this position where we needed more ministry leaders, we needed more pastors serving across the country, because the population was outpacing the churches and the ability to serve. So and then you throw all the other stuff on. So we have pastors who are retiring, we don’t have as many young pastors coming in. But the beauty of the kingdom of God is that God has continued to call people into ministry, and throughout the history of the church, there have been challenging times to be a pastor. I mean, this isn’t like something fresh and new, that is suddenly, you know, our generation is witnessing
There were things like plagues and crusades, and exactly.
Persecution, where you are literally thrown to lions. I mean, so there’ve been some challenging times. So God is still faithful, God is still calling men and women into faithful service, into ministry, to serve the kingdom. And that is why what we get to do Jimmy and our entire team at Pastor Serve, is so vitally important. We see that we can come alongside of a pastor, when they’re seeing these pain points when they’re seeing these issues with less satisfaction in ministry, and their confidence is waning, somewhat. They’re feeling burned out, they’re feeling, you know. What are ways that we can come alongside of pastors to really help them navigate those challenging times?
Yeah. So I mean, like, at the very, very, I mean, way, way, way back when about 22 years ago, we did a very, very, I mean, like extensive work, you speak with, I mean, scores of pastors. And the thing that we found is that those pastors that thrive in ministry, they have got a team that actually surrounds them. And they have a boss, a trainer, a coach, a counselor, a mentor, and just some really good good friends. And it’s interesting, because I think that we came to a point where we could almost actually predict a major, major fall or like a big, big crisis, just like in the pastor’s life. Because I would hear things like, well, you know, what, it’s a staff led church, and I’m the Lead Pastor, so I’m kind of the boss, so I really don’t have a boss because I’m the boss. Which in one sense means, I don’t have a champion, because I’m trying to be actually everybody else’s champion. But I don’t have anybody that’s actually champion for me, which, you know, which leads to all sorts of issues. And as far as training, I’m the one that kind of speaks to our staff. And so I kind of do the training. And you know, when I don’t have a coach, because I just don’t think that anybody’s at my level, and I would want to have somebody that’s actually advanced, that’s way way ahead of me. Which you just kind of laugh at and think I’m glad that, I mean, you could go through sports and business and everybody else and say, That’s not the way the rest of the world thinks, you know. I mean, like, every great golfer has a coach, right? And every great golfer could beat their coach in golf, right? Well, why do they have a coach? Because they realize you need to have outside eyes and an outside voice that can watch you and say, Hey, I think that things could be a lot better if you would just do this or that. And yet, I think there’s oftentimes a pastor is just don’t actually understand that. Then I hear, you know what, I would go to counseling, but I think it’s a waste of time. Because I think that God wants us to always kind of look forward and not back. Which you think, that’s a that’s a sad, sad perspective, because I think that we do have to process some things in the past, because we’ve all got some hurt and some pain that I hear, you know what I used to have a mentor in college. But gosh, she didn’t want to think that we actually lost touch about 15 years ago. If I’m completely honest, I really don’t have any peers. I don’t have any really, really close friends. We know that person is ripe for a fall, just because they’re isolated. And Pastor Serve was birthed in 1999. But it was conceived in about 1986, because I was on staff at Grace Chapel and I was there with a well known pastor, Gordon McDonald, who everybody knew. And he was like, the big thing for pastors in America and amazing speaker, amazing author, all of those things, and he had a moral failure. And that was a hard thing for me, because I was on the inside of that. I was on the team. I was on the staff. I was right there watching it. And that’s when it became very clear to me, Wow, he is surrounded by scores of people. And he was completely isolated. And I think that there are pastors that we make, and it’s a bad thing to do, but we make assumptions of, wow, they’re surrounded by people. I guess that’s a good thing. Well, just because you’re surrounded by people doesn’t mean that you’re not completely isolated. Because I think that we can, I think that we can hide our, our hurt and our pain and our emotions, and our guilt and our shame and insecurities. I think that we hide those things. And it’s just absolutely critical to have people speaking into our lives, where we can go and be completely honest about those things. Just on the side. Because I’m always asked this question. It’s like, okay, so you actually have a book out there, boss, trainer, coach, counselor, mentor. Who’s your boss, trainer, coach, counselor, mentor? And I have all those roles filled, I have all of those roles filled. I mean, I have amazing people in my life. I have a great coach who, man, speaks things to me that are tough and hard. But man, it’s just a great process with him. I have mentors, that speak into my life, I have a counselor I see on a very consistent basis. I’m gonna have these roles and relationships. I’ve got friends that asked me the really, really hard questions in life. And so I hope that we don’t just talk about this at Pastor Serve, but that we actually model this at Pastor Serve. I think that that’s critical, because words are cheap, right? It would be very easy to say, hey, do all these things. And yet, my life is out of control. And so I’ve got these roles in my life. And I’m really, really grateful that I have them because I’d be lost without them.
Yeah, that’s important. And a lot of this comes to relationship. And I love the fact that Jimmy that you brought up that oftentimes as pastors and ministry leaders, we look like we have a lot of relationships. And we do because you know, we’re shepherding a flock, and we have colleagues and we have a ministry team. Whether it’s you know, whether at a church where you have paid ministry staff, or we have volunteer key ministry leaders, right? And whatever it is, we’ve got, we have this sense that there are people in proximity to us, for the most part. You know, most pastors and churches across the country. So however, oftentimes, as pastors, we tend to feel like, we have to kind of be ‘on’ all the time. We have to be setting the example, you know, for everybody. Therefore, we cannot be human right? In some ways, our humanity can’t be exposed because, you know, we have this this role, and yet that is, furthest from the truth. When it comes to authentically shepherding people, authentically living in relationship with people you can’t, kind of put on the mask, or kind of fake things, or suppress things, or hide things. And yet, oftentimes as pastors, we do that, and it’s not always, Jimmy, it’s not always in some nefarious way. You know, it’s not always like, Oh, we’re trying to hide. Oftentimes, and I’m sure those of you watching along are listening along, you can reflect on your own lives. And think oftentimes, we do that in a sense of almost responsibility. Like we, you know, we need to set the tone, we need to set the example and therefore, we don’t want anyone to see cracks in our life. So that can become insidious and it can put us into this isolating place. Where even if we don’t go through some major moral crisis, our hearts and our souls can shrivel up to some degree. And this is why we feel dissatisfied. This is why we feel burned out. Because we don’t have those life giving relationships. Right? Can you speak to us about that?
I mean, that was my life story, especially in like the mid 1990s. Because I was in a fast growing church. And you get, I mean, like attention, because you’re in a fast growing church. And so you’re asked to do things. And I was the most miserable. I mean, I was in a terrible place because I felt like I can’t show any cracks. And this church is growing fast. So I’ve got to be the guy that has his life together. And I didn’t want to talk about any issues in my marriage, or my parenting, or my thought life, or my lustful life, or whatever it might be. I mean, I didn’t want to just mention those. And so it was just go, go, go go. And, and it was sad, because I found my self-worth very, very much in the church. And everybody actually applauded. Man, it seems like you just have your life together. And that just fed the beast. And it just became worse and worse, to the point where I was just mentally, physically, spiritually exhausted. And I just was not smart enough to see, man, I’m in a really bad place. And then it’s a long story, but the thing that really snapped me out of it was my son, who was about about 11 years old, said, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But I know what I don’t want to be, I don’t want to be a pastor. I don’t want to be like my dad. And every dad longs for, I think, especially their sons to say, I want to be just like my dad. And, gosh, I want to do things just like my dad. And my son, who was just a small child, saying, I want to be the opposite of my dad, I don’t want to be. And I thought, and that was my wake up call of, you know what, I have walked down this road for a long time, I have tried to make sure everything looks so perfect in my life. And it is an absolute wreck. And that’s when God brought five amazing men that spoke gospel truth in my life. And I just finally just became much more open about my failings, and my shortcomings, and just all of these other things in my life. And it just allowed me to say, Gosh, I’m broken. I’m as broken as anybody in my church. I mean, I need God’s grace as much as anybody in my church. And that’s when God used that to actually start Pastor Serve, because pastors began to say, huh, you seem like a safe guy to talk to because I know you talk a lot more about your own brokenness, your own guilt, your own shame, your own fears, all of these things. And you seem like a safe guy. And that’s, that’s kind of what actually launched Pastor Serve, is, I think that there are pastors desperate for a safe place to go and just be real and honest. And just say, man, here’s what’s going on. But I think that there are still so many pastors that won’t reach out to anybody. Because shame, I’m telling you, Satan loves shame. And so many pastors are in the grip of shame because of secrets. Because of all these things in their past, and there’s so much shame. It’s like, I can never tell anybody. And that’s, that’s one of the primary lies of Satan. Don’t ever tell anybody your secrets, because they will reject you, and they won’t like you anymore. And then that’s a lie from the pit of hell.
And that’s vital for us as pastors, because the shame… oftentimes, we think of shame related to some deep sin, right? And it could be right? I mean, we know that there are pastors who are serving who are hiding sins, but sometimes that shame is just like, if people knew that I didn’t have all the answers.
If people knew I didn’t have my quiet time this morning If people knew I watched the show on Netflix. Exactly.
Simple things right, simple things that all of us experience. So the value of having a safe space, you’ve said that multiple times, the value of having a safe space, I think cannot be really overlooked in anyone’s life, especially in ministry. Because that safe space to share, hey, this is some of the things that I’m just wrestling with, you know, whether it’s deep, deep seeded something, or it’s just wrestling with navigating, you know, I’ve got teenagers now, and I’m trying to figure out how to do this. You know, I mean, you know, and if people knew that I snapped at my kids, like I did yesterday, they would think differently. I mean, just the reality, just life stuff that we bottle up, we hold on to, rather than processing through. And that just, as we said before, that just really eats at our inner life. And the beautiful thing about Pastor Serve Jimmy, what you’ve done over, you know, two decades now, is that you recognize that there’s lots of great coaching available for, you know, how to be a better preacher. Right? How to, you know, develop your staff or you know how to, you know, discipleship pathways in your church, or outreach in your community. Whatever, right. Like, which is all vitally important, and our coaches all, all provide those things, right. But, the distinction of Pastor Serve is, we know there’s so much more to pastoring then just the tasks, the functions and the strategy, and the ministry pieces that we think of right? That there’s this entire backstage of our lives, that personal side. That really, if we do not have that and we’re not consistently and intentionally working on, you know, the backstage, the personal side of our lives – our relationships, our emotional health, our mental health, our spiritual health, physical health, all of those pieces – then, we can easily become dissatisfied with ministry. We can easily become burned out, we can easily you know, consider tapping out lately. All of these, all of these things can happen. And you have seen that, you personally have experienced it, we’ve worked with hundreds, probably 1000s of pastors now who’ve gone through these similar things. And so this safe space of having a coach to just kind of unpack with. Talk to us a little bit about the kind of the value of that coach, because that’s one of the big things that we offer is you know, a coaching relationship. Talk to us a little bit about that safe space that’s not connected to your denomination or your ministry network or whatever. And just the value of those conversations.
Yeah, gosh, that is so good. Yeah, just because a coach is a place to go, where it’s going to be safe, it’s going to be confidential, but it’s going to be challenging. And the fact that they’re going to ask you some questions that might make you feel actually a bit uncomfortable. But they’re going to probe into the front stage, and then also the things along the backstage. And they’re going to bring a perspective and ask you questions to maybe open up some doors of your life that you haven’t opened up in a long time. I think that there, it’s just, you know, it’s just so strange, how will how my coach will ask me questions. And I’ll just kind of think, alright, I think you just asked me a question, but I think that that’s a layered question. And I think that kind of starts me to peel back some things. And that takes me down to a place where there’s a lot more questions. And that’s going to cause me to do some hard work just on my soul, and my spirit, and my life, and my self-worth, and my mental health and my, just all of these things. And so I am just, I’m just very, very grateful for a coach that I have given permission to, to ask me those hard questions of life, and just begin to peel back just all of those layers. And, and there’s times in which it’s not fun, there are times in which I walk out and think, Gosh, I’m exposed once again. But it’s a great thing to be exposed and to still feel loved, and accepted and cared for and know that my self-worth is in Jesus. My self-worth is in Jesus. It’s not the ministry, it’s not the church size, it’s not all of these different things. But my self-worth has got to be in Jesus, because that is the one stable thing in my life, that’s my one rock. That’s the one thing that is always very, very consistently there. And so I would think, man, I’ve got to have that coach in my life. Because they take me to places that I just, you know what, I just wouldn’t go there, I just wouldn’t go there. And they go to some very, you know, some very tough places, but I welcome it. And it’s, gosh, it helps me immensely. As a person, as a leader, as a husband, as a father, on and on and on, just as a child of God, it helps me immensely.
Yeah, and the coaching gives you that opportunity to express some of those frustrations that you might have as well, that you can’t really just express with everyone else. You know, so you can process through some of those, you know, just some of those emotions, right? That if we bottle them up, and we can’t say hey, here’s some frustrations that I’m having right now in, you know, ministry leadership in our local church. Like and you can talk through it. And then the coach says, Well, you know, have you considered this, or what about this, or maybe the way that you’re presenting yourself may be spurring on some of that friction. So then you, so it’s this whole idea of getting to health. And that’s what we think of as, when it comes to coaching, you talked about, you know, a professional golfer having a coach is because they want to progress in their game. They want to do as best they can. And as pastors and ministry leaders, you know, our calling is much bigger than the winning, you know, 18 holes of golf, right? It’s eternity. And so the idea that we can help grow and develop, as people, as children of God, as leaders, as shepherds, as pastors, is just something that helps us overcome those days when it isn’t so fun. When there is a big challenge when there, you know, there are things that are happening. Having a relationship like that, and having someone that you can be open with and having someone speak into your life gives you that, you know, a greater ability to move through and process through those days that are really, really rough.
That’s exactly right. And you know what, it’s very interesting, because my coach knows that he’s a, he’s a part of this ecosystem. And so there’s times in which we go deep, and he says, All right, that’s a big one for you, I need that I think you need to process this actually with your counselor, because he knows I have a counselor. And he says, Okay, we’re, we’re at a point, I probably gone as far as I can go. But I think you need to talk these things through with Rick, who’s my counselor. And it’s like, okay, I’ll put it on the agenda for next time I have a counseling meeting. But he knows he’s a part of this ecosystem. And I mean, like, he loves his role in that, but he knows that he’s not the only one.
Yeah, that’s awesome, that’s awesome. And so I guess, kind of the, one of the pieces of hope. Not only is God calling people into ministry. Not only is Jesus with us through whatever we might face. Not only as the Holy Spirit sustaining us, but God invites us into community with others, right? And that sense of community is not something that we could or should overlook. It’s something that we should lean into, it’s something that we should embrace, it’s something that is a gift from God. And so we really need to look at those opportunities in those relationships in our lives to see how we can grow and develop as we serve the kingdom.
I don’t even know why I’m on this show. Because that was so, that was gold right there, Jason. That was, that should be the quote from this show. Jason Daye, right there. That was good. Yeah.
Awesome, my friend. Well, times are challenging, but times have been challenging. Challenging for a long time. So Jimmy, as we kind of wrap up this conversation. Can you provide some words of encouragement with pastors and ministry leaders who are listening or watching along right now?
Yeah, yeah. You know, the one thing that’s been, you know, very much in my heart these past months are that there’s lots and lots of accusations in life. I mean, there’s lots of accusations in life. And there’s accusations from Satan. There’s accusations from, I think, lots of others. But the one thing that kills pastors is, there’s a lot of self-accusation. And I think the thing that we need to come back to, over and over again. And I think about, I think it’s Colossians 2, maybe 14 through 16, is that we can leave those accusations at the cross. Is we can leave all of those accusations of Gosh, I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I can’t do these things. I don’t know if I’m called to this. I mean, you know that there’s going to constantly be all of those accusations. But that the cross and that calling, and that hope is much, much larger than all of those accusations. And so I’ve got to constantly go back to just the very basics, you know, the cross of Jesus Christ, and say, Father, I thank you that the cross is larger than all of these accusations. And I want to leave these accusations at the foot of the cross, keep my eyes upon you and do what you have called me to do, and know that my calling is from you. And there’s going to be challenging times along the way. There’s always going to be things that are hard and challenging, but with my eyes upon you, I don’t have to be held captive by all of those accusations. But I can but I mean like, the fact that you free me from those is the greatest news in the world. And yeah, that’s just one thought.
Yeah, man. I love that. Very, very encouraging. Well, Brother, it’s always good to jump on and chat with you. Certainly appreciate your transparency, sharing from your own experiences, your own life. And in all that you’ve done in coming alongside pastors and ministry leaders through the ministry of Pastor Serve. And again for those of you who are pastors and ministry leaders, our coaches would love to offer you a complimentary coaching session, you can find that PastorServe.org/freesession. If you dive into one of these conversations, get a sense and a feel for what that looks like, what that feels like, and have that kind of safe third space where you can go and kind of unpack some things and get some insights. So thank you, Jimmy, for not only hanging out with us today, but thank you for being obedient to the Spirit, when God called you to jump out into this adventure of Pastor Serve, and step out in faith and really, really do this to come alongside pastors. And it’s needed more now than ever. But thank you for, you know, paving the way in being diligent and obedient for over two decades in this work in the service to the kingdom. So love and appreciate you brother.
Thanks, brother, we’re so blessed that you’re on the team. You’re a tremendous, you know, just a huge piece of this team. And we’re so immensely grateful for you. Thank you.
Thank you. God bless you, my friend. Thank you. All right.
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
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