Problems of Pastoral Parenting

The Problems in Pastoral Parenting


      “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?   How will they believe in Him Whom they have not heard?   And how will they hear without a preacher?   How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15a)   And, with apologies to the Apostle Paul, if they are sent, but they desist because they are disheartened, are we not back to the beginning – “How will they call on Him…?”   Where are they going, and why?   And, more to the pastor/parent point, where is that “next generation,” the children of ministers who have been trained up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), who have been raised by Godly parents and are proud to follow in their footsteps?
The last decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first have witnessed a massive egress of people who have entered the ministry with great hopes and expectations but exit upon finding unexpected trials and disappointments.   Southern Baptist evangelist Freddie Gage, founder of a ministry that reaches out to “wounded warriors,” preachers who have reached a stage where they feel unable to continue ministering, states that 6,000 preachers leave the ministry every year in the Southern Baptist convention alone, with 200 pastors being fired every month.   Steven Olford reports that, at any point in time, there are at least 70,000 vacant pulpits in the U.S.   (Willmore, 2002).   Of the thousands of clergy who leave the ministry every year, most cite as a primary reason the pressures of their ministry on their family.   Syndicated columnist Terry Mattingly, in writing of the 65 percent increase, over two and a half decades, of divorce among pastors, discloses that eighty percent of those ministers reported a “negative impact” of the ministry on the home, and one third said “the pastorate has been a hazard to their families.” (Zoba, 1997).
      Research on the clergy’s perceptions of the negative repercussions of ministry is...