Jump directly to the Content

I think Simon and Garfunkel described the feeling of some pastors today when they sang, "When you're weary, feeling small." (Interestingly, the words come from "Bridge over Troubled Waters," an apt metaphor for much of pastoral ministry.)

The weariness I see among some clergy is not usually full-fledged burnout. It's the slow buildup, like wax on a kitchen floor, of too many evening meetings, too many conflicts, too few days off.

The "feeling small" comes out in conversations. Recently I was with two pastors who serve vital congregations-one of 300, one of about 200 people. According to the church-growth statisticians, these two ministers would be the envy of 90 percent of America's pastors. But they don't feel that way.

One said, "Our church is only about 200." The other said, apologetically, "We're just a small church." Something about their demeanor said, "I'm just a pastor of just a small church."

I thought about the conversation later, and the more I did, the more ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Leader's Insight: Overhaulin'
Leader's Insight: Overhaulin'
Gordon MacDonald on rest for the high mileage believer.
From the Magazine
Disasters Often Bring Revelation Rather than Punishment
Disasters Often Bring Revelation Rather than Punishment
An 18th-century earthquake and a 21st-century pandemic can teach us about enlightenment and judgment.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.
close