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Podcast: Our Pastors Are in Crisis, and You Can Help (Peter Orr)

This article is part of the The Crossway Podcast series.

The Crisis Facing Our Pastors

In today’s episode, Peter Orr talks about why he thinks we’re facing a pastoral crisis and what regular Christians can do to help stem the tide of pastoral burnout.

Fight for Your Pastor

Peter Orr

Fight for Your Pastor is an exhortation for church members to support their pastors through the difficulties of ministry through prayer, encouragement, generosity, and forgiveness.

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Topics Addressed in This Interview:

00:49 - Are Pastors Really in Crisis?

Matt Tully
Peter, thank you so much for joining me today on The Crossway Podcast.

Peter Orr
Thanks, Matt. It’s great to be with you.

Matt Tully
You open your new book with what I would consider to be a pretty sobering quote from a pastor that you know, but you don’t share his name. It’s actually a rhetorical question. He writes, "Is there a day that goes by when I don’t wonder how to get out of ministry?" So, I guess my first question is, is that a common feeling that you think many pastors wrestle with on a regular basis?

Peter Orr
Yeah, that’s a great question. What prompted me to write the book was talking to friends who are pastors, and more than one expressed something similar to that friend’s feeling about pastoral ministry. So that’s one thing, but then also looking a little bit more globally, just seeing things on the Internet, there seems to be a greater number than usual of pastors pulling away from the ministry. Sadly, I think that sentiment that my friend expressed is not unusual or unique, and it seems to be increasing in frequency. Pastors are feeling that intensely, the struggle of the role.

Matt Tully
As you’ve talked with other pastors, what would you say are some of the dominant thoughts, or even emotions, that are behind that question that they’re asking themselves?

Peter Orr
It’s interesting. One friend put it as disappointment, the kind of hopes you have when you start a new pastoral role in an existing church, or you plant the church. You’ve got all these hopes of how the Lord might use you, and they’re noble and good hopes for God’s glory and for the honor of Christ. And then disappointment comes as people let you down for different reasons. So that would be one thing, but also just criticism. I think that’s the thing that people feel—different levels of criticism, but always a negativity towards them and a feeling that they can never do a good enough job. Ultimately, all of us and pastors included, serve for God and his glory. But as human beings, we need encouragement from others, and with constant criticism it’s just so hard to keep going.

Matt Tully
Most of our listeners are probably rooted in the US and are maybe pretty familiar with the US evangelical landscape and some of the things that have happened among pastors in the last decade or so. You’re speaking from Australia, and I’m just kind of curious, how similar or different would you say the landscape is when it comes to pastors and pastoral ministry where you’re coming from?

Peter Orr
Some of the tragic stories we’ve seen in the US of high profile pastors falling, not necessarily. There have been the sexual and financial failing, but more what we might call spiritual abuse. That happens in Australia. Obviously, we don’t have quite as many high profile pastors, but that dynamic is there. So you’ve got the negative side where pastors kind of abuse their power, and that has and does happen in Australia. Maybe, as I say, not to the same extent in terms of high profile. And so that’s a dynamic that I think has meant that people have lost a little bit of trust, generally, in pastors who are viewed with more suspicion because of some of the falls that have happened. People in Australia might see those big stories from the US, but also have heard of churches even in Australia where pastors have—I guess for different reasons—abused their positions, abused the people in their churches. And that, I think, has contributed to this overall feeling of negativity towards pastors.

Matt Tully
You currently teach at a seminary, so you’re teaching up and coming pastors, men who aspire to be pastors. As far as I’m aware, you’ve not yourself served a pastoral ministry, but you do have this particular insight, given your role and your experiences into what’s going on. So I think that’s helpful to note where you’re coming from on this issue. You write in your book that you would say there’s a crisis among pastors right now. I think the first question that someone might have is, Is it really that bad? I have heard some of these stories that people are leaving ministry, and I’ve heard the stories of people failing in some way, but is it really a crisis?

Peter Orr
I think it’s a crisis in terms of the numbers who are failing, the experience of those that I speak to who are current pastors, and also (and I don’t really explore this in the book) but my observation from teaching at Moore College is that numbers of people coming forward for pastoral ministry. We have a good number of great students. We train men and women for different ministries—to work with students, chaplaincy, things like that—but there are fewer men putting themselves forward for pastoral ministry. They’re doing lots of other good ministries, but I would say particularly not many of our students would go straight from our seminary to being senior pastors. Even those who go and become assistant pastors are kind of happier to remain as assistant pastors. And so the numbers of people going and becoming senior pastors in our area in New South Wales is decreasing. I’ll hold my hands up and say this is kind of observation. I haven’t done a detailed analytical study, but that’s certainly my observation.

06:28 - Multiplied Pressures

Matt Tully
You write in the book, "Being in Christian leadership has always been challenging, but recently it seems that the pressures have multiplied." What has changed? Beyond the prevalence of certain scandals and failures, are there other cultural things that you see as impacting the challenges that pastors are facing right now?

Peter Orr
I’d say a couple of things—one fairly short term and one long term. The short term is obviously COVID. I think that was an intense period. I know we’re not quite out of it, but it was an intense period of pressure for pastors, and it intensified some of the issues that they were already facing, particularly from within the church. Often the pressure that comes from within the church is the hardest to bear. It exposed attitudes and heightened criticism and it was just this feeling of I can’t please everybody. Some people are upset because we’re sort of closing dawn, and other people are upset because we didn’t close on soon enough. And I have friends who were criticized for the way that they did their online ministry. It was a very difficult time—preaching to a camera, getting no kind of feedback. I mean, all of us experienced a difficult few years, but I think for pastors it was particularly acute. So that’s one thing. And then the longer term way that our culture in the West has moved from being indifferent towards Christianity seeing Christianity as something that is morally repugnant, and pastors are at the pointy end. They’re the ones who sort of receive that criticism and are feeling that more acutely. I think those two. Even though COVID has just been a couple of years, I think that kind of short, sharp pressure has really brought things to the surface that might have taken a bit longer.

Matt Tully
I’m struck that in a previous generation—in the US, at least—if someone wasn’t a Christian and they maybe didn’t feel the need to go to church regularly, nevertheless there was a certain kind of respect that people had for a pastor, for the clergy, as good, upstanding, moral people. It seems like—for all kinds of reasons, perhaps—that’s just not maybe the default response that people tend to have today.

Peter Orr
Absolutely. I’m living in Australia now, but I grew up in Northern Ireland. And certainly in Northern Ireland that was very much the case growing up. You went to church, even if you weren’t a Christian before the Lord. I mean, you would’ve called yourself a Christian, but there was a cultural Christianity. And I think that was probably true of the US and, to a certain extent, Australia. And that that’s gone. It went and it was replaced by indifference, but now it’s kind of hostility. And I think pastors often experience that hostility.

09:20 - The Unique Burdens Pastors Bear

Matt Tully
I wonder if you could speak to like the layperson listening who’s who’s thinking right now, Yeah, I know my pastor has a lot on his plate and I know his job can be stressful. I understand that COVID was probably particularly difficult for him, but COVID was hard for me too. My life can be busy and stressful, and I’ve got all kinds of stuff, whether at work or at home, that makes my life difficult as well. Help people understand maybe a little bit more some of the unique burdens that pastors might be facing that they might not have considered before.

Peter Orr
It’s absolutely right that all of us, I think, are feeling the pressure of COVID, and then we look around the world and it’s like we’ve kind of gone back to the 1980s—we’re living in a world with a potential Cold War looming on different fronts. Your pastor, if he’s worth his salt, will be praying for you to persevere and will be caring for you. But the difference is as you struggle and care for your family—that’s good and right—but your pastor, if he has a church of a hundred to one hundred and fifty people, he is, in a sense, feeling the burden of all of those families and the pressure that they’re under. Meanwhile, as he seeks to do that imperfectly (and he will do it imperfectly), I would imagine he is getting criticism for how he’s not doing it as well as he should. A friend of mine expressed it this way: "There’s not many jobs where your wife receives your job performance review." The fact that often his family is under pressure because of what he does, and often criticism is made to the wife. And I think we don’t understand the destructive power of criticism. That’s something I’ve seen in pastors that I speak to, just how difficult that is. Yes, you’re struggling in your life, as we all are. But you’re not getting constant criticism about how you’re doing it or how you’re not doing it well enough.

Matt Tully
Another thing that you highlighted in your book—and you actually include in all of your chapters little anecdotes, little testimonials from real, anonymous pastors that you know—and one of them was really interesting. It talked about the burden of bearing other people’s burdens. The messiness of their lives. Pastors are often on the front lines of that, and one of the tricky things for them is that they can’t turn around and get help shouldering those burdens from other people, because it would be inappropriate for them to go to someone else in the church and say, Hey, listen to what John just told me about his messed up marriage. He can’t do that, and so that takes a toll on a pastor who is feeling the weight of many of those situations. Speak to that a little bit, just the loneliness that pastors can feel in their ministry.

Peter Orr
Yeah, absolutely. That is something that is very difficult because people have complex lives. Christians have complex lives and relational problems. Problems from family dynamics that are very complicated, and again, good pastors will want to walk with people in their churches through those problems. But it’s hard. I know pastors who, again, they don’t share the details with me, but as they describe some of the situations in their church, and multiple situations that they know people who are going through very difficult periods in their life , and it weighs on them. Paul talks about his struggles, and then it adds, I’m daily burdened by the anxiety of the churches. In a small way, a pastor will feel that daily burden by the anxiety of the people in my church. And again, that’s something that a pastor will have to wear that people in the churches don’t wear. And a pastor will have their own family issues, whether it’s a kid who’s drifting, or health, parental health. They’re dealing with that, but then they’re also trying to support other people as they deal with that. And often the pastor is not receiving the support. I know in my own life I really need that support. Just the position of a pastor does tend to mean that they can’t share. It’s harder for them to also share the struggles that they might be going through with a congregation member. And that’s why it’s important for pastors to have friends and support from outside the church. Yes, they should be drawing support from within the church, but it’s complex. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say, that it’s often complex.

14:02 - How to Fight for Your Pastor

Matt Tully
So maybe let’s talk about some of the practical ways that we, as lay people, can help support our pastors, can relieve some of that pressure that they are so often feeling for all kinds of reasons. And you list out a number of different things in this book, and so we only can talk about a few of them. The first one that you highlight is that we can pray for our pastors, and you actually call it "fighting for our pastors." That’s kind of the core idea behind even the title of your book. First, why do you call it "fighting for your pastor" rather than just the more straightforward "praying for them"?

Peter Orr
It was a friend who suggested it, and I liked it, actually, because it’s the kind of spiritual warfare that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6. It highlights the seriousness. The success of the gospel does not stand or fall on our pastor, but in a small sense in our local setting, it does. The person who’s under the most attack by Satan, arguably, is your pastor—the person who’s marriage Satan wants to derail or whose kids he wants to lose the faith is your pastor. The word "pray", yes, that’s a biblical word and, obviously, I could use that. But fight is also a biblical word. I think warfare and spiritual warfare just highlights the seriousness of what we need to do and what the stakes are. We need to be not just passively saying a quick prayer when we remember our pastor, but consciously and deliberately praying for them, as they’re praying for us. Paul wonderfully, at the end of Colossians, talks about Epaphras laboring in prayer for the Colossians, and that’s just this wonderful picture of a pastoral minister and people praying for one another and laboring in prayer for one another. Paul, in 2 Corinthians when he reflects on the absolute intense pressure that he’s been under. He talks about how the Lord delivered him, miraculously, but then he adds, You must help us—myself and my colleagues—by praying. And you think here’s the apostle, he’s just been delivered miraculously by God, but he’s telling the Corinthians that they need to help him by praying. That’s something I feel very strongly, that we need to help our pastors by praying for them. And I think we also need to tell them that we’re praying for them. I think sometimes we don’t do that, and it’s just so easy to send a quick text on a Sunday morning and say, Pastor, I’m praying for you this morning*. That’s a little thing, but I think that’s a wonderful encouragement for them.

Matt Tully
It can be so easy to feel tempted to hear this first point that you would make—praying—as kind of trite or sort of assumed. Like, Oh yeah, of course he’s going to start with prayer. But I thought your comment about the stakes is really significant, because all we have to do is look around and just see illustrations of the fact that when a pastor falls in some way or fails in some significant way, oftentimes the wake of that failure is so big. It affects so many people, arguably, most of the time more people than it would if you or I had some kind of serious failing. Obviously, it would hurt our families and our friends, but maybe not quite to the same extent that a pastor who would struggle in some way. So I think that, to me, really makes a big difference as we think about the urgency behind this prayer.

Peter Orr
Yeah, absolutely. And again, when you read the New Testament, I love the Apostle Paul—who you kind of think of as a super Christian and he’s got it all together—but time and time again he asks his churches to pray for him. Here’s someone with the deepest understanding of the gospel who articulates some of the most wonderful passages about Christ and about the gospel, and you think, Wow! I wish I was like Paul. Here’s a super Christian who’s got it all together. And yet constantly he’s asking for prayer, and not just in a sort of, Oh yeah, remember to pray for me way, but "you must help us by your prayers" (2 Cor.). In Philippians 1:19 he says, "Through your prayers, my situation will turn out for my deliverance." So again, he’s giving their prayers this kind of real theological significance. I think we need to understand the importance of prayer, and in this context as well, that it’s not just a good thing to do, but it is a critical thing to do.

Matt Tully
If you had to boil it down, what would be maybe the top three or four things that you would encourage us to pray for our pastors this week?

Peter Orr
The top three things would be to pray that they remain faithful to the Lord Jesus. I mean, that’s the absolute thing. There are so many sad stories of pastors falling away in different ways, so pray that they would be faithful. Pray that they would love their families well.

Matt Tully
Why do you emphasize that as the second thing?

Peter Orr
I think that just seems to be a pressure point. If you’re a pastor under pressure, the temptation is maybe to throw yourself into your work and try and please people in an unhealthy way, to the neglect of your family. And you need great wisdom because when do you sort of take time with your parishioners away from your family, and when do you say, No, I need to stay and serve my own family? I think that takes real wisdom, and it’s complex, and pastors will get it wrong. So, pray for their family. And then, I think pray for them as they preach the word. I think because that’s not the only thing they do, absolutely, but it’s the point of the arrow. As they preach the word, that’s what they’re doing and that’s so significant and it’s important that they do that well. But it’s also important that they have encouragement as they do that. With praying for them as they preach the word I would sort of include that they would be good and faithful in their preaching, but also that they would be encouraged as they do it.

19:58 - How to Encourage Your Pastor

Matt Tully
Another thing that you emphasize in your book that we can be doing for our pastors is to encourage them, intentionally encourage them. In your experience, do you think pastors typically feel, on net, encouraged or discouraged in their work these days?

Peter Orr
From my experience, I would say, generally speaking, discouraged.

Matt Tully
How does criticism function in that—the criticism that they may be getting from people in their church?

Peter Orr
I think discouragement comes from the positive and the negative. the negative of being discouraged. I read an article recently about how twenty years ago, you might get criticism of your sermon through a letter. Well, maybe we would’ve had email twenty years ago. So thirty years ago you would’ve had a letter on the Wednesday or the Thursday, whereas, as one pastor put it, you can get criticism of your sermon as you preach. The text message can come in as you preach. And I think social media has made us maybe not more critical, but more aggressive in our criticism and more willing to just be very sharp in our criticism. Obviously, there is a place for criticism. I’m not arguing that you should never say anything negative to your pastor, but I think we often are not careful in how we express our criticism. Speaking to friends, it’s just the careless comment. And yes, that’s just one person making that careless comment, and they might think afterwards, I probably shouldn’t have said that. But when it's five or six or seven or eight people making those sorts of comments, and often people don’t realize that they’re doing them, and that’s what I want to kind of challenge. Just think before you speak. I was reading Proverbs recently, that the wise person is careful in what they say. And just very simply ask, The comment that I make to my pastor, how is this going to land? Is this loving? Is it necessary? All that is kind of basic Christian community, but for some reason it just seems that with a pastor, maybe there’s this ungodly attitude of, Well, I pay for him, he works for me, so I can say what I want. And that’s crazy. It’s crazy. And yet, it seems there’s sort of an open season on pastors. And the other thing is that within any church there will be people with different values. We’re all united in Christ, but there are things that are important to some people in the church that aren’t important to others, and vice versa. One group of people wants more of this type of preaching or dealing with these type of issues than another group.
And so you’ll get criticism from different directions, and that’s very hard.

Matt Tully
One thing you highlight is how, obviously, criticism is a way to discourage. It will typically discourage pastors. But another equally, or additionally discouraging thing, is just the lack of encouragement. You talk about that and you kind of connect it to what you mentioned before, the fact that maybe we pay pastors and there’s a little bit of this consumerist mentality. Unpack that a little bit: Why can the lack of encouragement also be discouraging?

Peter Orr
You spend time during the week working hard on a sermon. You wrestle with it, you get up, you preach, and then you hear nothing. And in one sense, okay, you’ve done your job, and you’re accountable to the Lord and you move on. But when you do that week after week, pastors are only human. You just start to think, Am I getting through? Are people being encouraged? Are people being built up? And it’s just not hard for us to talk to our pastor after the meeting and to be specific and say, Thanks for your sermon. It was great. That’s better than nothing, but maybe, Thanks for your sermon this morning. I really thought the way that you explained verse three was so helpful. That’s something I’ve read before and I’ve never really understood it, and you helped explain it really well. Or, * That application at the end of the sermon, that really spoke to my life. That’s not hard. And if you feel uncomfortable doing it in person, just send off an email and say, I just wanted to thank you so much. And try to be specific. That sort of thing just goes so far with the pastor. We could be super spiritual and say, Well, they shouldn’t need it. They shouldn’t depend on what we say*. That’s just not human. We’re in a relationship with our pastors. He’s a human being. He needs encouragement. You can argue it from the New Testament. The apostle Paul was so discouraged when he didn’t see growth, or when he saw his churches going backwards and he needed to see them grow. And one of the ways that we can show that we’re growing is by communicating with our pastor how helpful we’re finding the sermon.

Matt Tully
I’m struck by your comment about how pastors need that proactive encouragement, in part because they’re human just like the rest of us, and we all need that. It strikes me that sometimes it seems like we don’t think of our pastors as humans. We kind of think of them in a different category, or at least think they should be in a different category. Do you think that dynamic is at play?

Peter Orr
Yeah, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. We put them on a pedestal. We think they’re kind of super Christians. I imagine that is more the case when you’re in a very big church. But again, read the New Testament, read the apostle Paul—the original person we are tempted to put on the pedestal—and read 2 Corinthians, and you’ll see just how intense Paul is, and how, I don’t want use the word "dependent", but how much he longs for the affection of the Corinthian church. At one point he says, We’ve opened our hearts to you. We just want you to open your heart to us. There’s this longing for this kind of real Christian connection. Your pastor is not an apostle. But I think those sort of same dynamics apply. Second Corinthians is really a book where you get an insight into the heart of the apostle Paul, and as he opens that heart, a lot of what he longs for is a good relationship with his church. And I think that that is something that our pastors would echo.

Matt Tully
What are a couple of practical ideas that you would have for how we could go and encourage our pastors this week? You’ve mentioned the idea of maybe following up after a sermon and saying, Hey, that point number three was excellent. That really helped me. Any other particular ideas come to mind that you would suggest?

Peter Orr
Yeah, I would say we encourage by communication. Write to him, send him an email, not asking for anything, just telling him that you’re praying for him, telling him that you appreciate him, thanking him. Just thanking him. Pastor, I just want to thank you for your service. I know it’s been a hard few years, but my family is so thankful for what you’re doing, and we’re praying for you. And I think that sort of communication is so easy. If you’re listening to this, once you finish the podcast, it would take you one minute. And yet it’s so helpful. Also, and this is a sort of longer term thing, I think pastors are encouraged as they see people in their churches serve and take ownership. And this is real Christian growth, that as we see that the church is not a show that we attend, and it’s not even a sort of volunteer club that we are part of. It’s a church family, and we are invested. As you can, as you prayerfully consider with your family, put your hand up to serve and to help and to really take ownership of the life of the church. I think that is a long-term encouragement, as the pastor sort of sees, Okay, we’re all in this together. We’re working together. It’s not just me up at the front trying to hold things together with a few volunteers. It’s lots of people getting involved.

Matt Tully
That’s the reality, isn’t it? As individual Christians volunteer to serve the church in various ways, that’s often very directly serving the pastors as well.

Peter Orr
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I can’t remember where I read it, but recently I read this phrase: "a load-bearing laity." It’s just a really nice phrase that captures the idea that it’s not the pastor trying to do everything. But it’s people saying, Can I help in this area?, and being willing to serve, and particularly being willing to serve in areas where you might not feel that you are particularly gifted, but there’s a need. And I think sometimes, as Christians, we can be a little bit precious or Primadonnas and say, I’m only going to serve in this area where I’m gifted. But actually, there’s a real need over here. You might feel like, I’m not great with kids, but there’s a real need in the kids’ ministry, so I’m going to help, with God’s grace. And wonderfully, then you’re beginning to grow. You’re being challenged, you’re depending on the Lord. So the pastor’s going see and say, Jenny threw herself into that area, even though it’s outside of her comfort zone. It’s wonderful. She’s growing as a Christian. That’s tremendous encouragement as well.

28:58 - How to Forgive Your Pastor

Matt Tully
All right, the last thing that we’ll talk about today as a way to intentionally help and support our pastors is to forgive them. My guess is that some people listening right now might feel, rightly or wrongly, like they have been wronged by their pastor in some way. That they’ve been sinned against by their pastor. So what should they do?

Peter Orr
That’s a really great question, and I guess we can sort of talk about this area in kind of three levels. One level would be the criminal offense. So we’re talking about the really serious issues where the police need to be informed, denominational authorities need to be informed, and then once that happens it’s sort of, Yes, we keep praying, but we’re not involved in the process. The second would be something that the police are not interested in, but where the pastor has failed, like an adulterous relationship, or this is where we’re moving more into the area of spiritual abuse—a pattern of abuse—and that’s something I deal with in the book. And again, that’s where the denomination would need to be involved and there needs to be a process as that’s sorted out. Then, thirdly, there are what we might call the minor things, where where your pastor has disappointed you, has wronged you. It might have been that he’s had a bad day and he’s snapped at you, or things like that. That’s, sadly, more common. With this one, I’m not talking about the sort of things that are significant enough, or a frequent pattern, that needs to be dealt with formally, but it’s just the sort of thing that kind of is true of any relationship. There will be times when we need to sit down and say, Your behavior when you did this really hurt me. But then in the New Testament, there are times when we overlook. Proverbs talks about overlooking an offense. Jesus talks about turning the cheek. Paul talks about why not rather be wronged. And again, don’t hear me say that we should apply those to some of those other bigger level issues. But in that kind of day-to- day relationship with your pastor, you just need to often bear with his imperfections and overlook them and move on. And I think sometimes we’re not good at that kind of basic forgiveness.

Matt Tully
It seems like we can often, in our culture today, be so focused on the big examples of failure, whether they are criminal or just disqualifying at the least for pastors. And, rightly so, we need to know how to respond to those things. But the reality, it seems to me, is that the bulk of the things that we might be experiencing any given week with our pastor is going to be that third category of maybe not clearly disqualifying for ministry, but maybe still it bothered you. It felt unkind or unloving. And so what advice would you give to somebody who feels like they can’t just overlook that? They feel like they need to address it with their pastor. How should they go about doing that in a way that is kind and humble and aimed at forgiveness? That can just be a very difficult situation to feel like you’re in.

Peter Orr
Yeah, it is, and it’s hard and it depends on your church setting. I imagine if you’re in a very large church with 4,000 people it’s going to be hard to talk to your pastor that you might not know all that well. But I think, generally, if you can, we deal with these things by talking about them, by expressing how we were hurt. But not forgetting that we are sinful as well and that we hurt other people. And again, it comes back to not wanting to put our pastor on a pedestal and thinking, This is terrible! How could he have said that harsh thing to me? He’s a pastor! Have a sense of proportion, which in our current world with everything going on, we often lose a sense of proportion, and things that are relatively minor get put into one of those other two categories. And so, having a sense of proportion. If this is something that’s just a one off, and you can say, He was tired. I’m just going to let it go. I’m just going to let it go—the New Testament does talk about that. Sometimes we think that every sin needs to be acknowledged and dealt with. But no, the New Testament does say there’s a place for just absorbing it, just letting it go. I think often that will be the case. But when it’s maybe just a pattern of, He’s just often harsh with me you need to sit down with him. It’s going to be hard. Maybe a very, very carefully worded email might be a way to start the process. I tell a story in the book of a pastor who sat down with someone and there was some criticism given in a loving way, and he said some of the criticism was fair and he was able to change as a result of it. Some of it, the person came to see that it was a bit unfair, and that’s just such a healthy dynamic. I’m not naive enough to know that it’s going to be easy and always work out like that, but that’s the sort of goal that we’re aiming for.

Matt Tully
Peter, maybe as a last question, this whole conversation has largely been aimed at the lay person, helping them to get into the mind of their pastor, helping them to think intentionally about how to help their pastor. But I wonder if you could speak a little bit to maybe the pastor himself who might be listening in on this and is kind of curious about what are they going to say about me and about what I’m feeling and thinking? What would you say to the pastor listening right now?

Peter Orr
I have so many good friends who are pastors. I guess in light of all we’ve said, I want to just encourage them to keep going, to keep preaching the gospel, keep depending on the Lord, keep examining their heart, because, obviously, pastors are not perfect and there will be things that they’ll need to repent of. But it’s very hard. My prayer is that the Lord might use this book in some small way that you might be more encouraged and enabled to keep going. It’s worth it, and on the last day for the Lord Jesus to receive you and say, Well done, good and faithful servant. That’s what you want to keep going for, and it’s worth it for God’s glory. You’re doing, as Paul says, a noble task. So keep going.

Matt Tully
Thank you, Peter, so much for taking the time today to help us all have a little better insight into what our pastors are dealing with on a daily and weekly basis, and ways that we can better serve and help them. We appreciate it.

Peter Orr
Thank you, Matt. It’s been great to be with you this morning.


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Podcast: Help! I Hate My Job (Jim Hamilton)

Jim Hamilton discusses what to do when you hate your job, offering encouragement for those frustrated in their work and explaining the difference between a job and a vocation.


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