Suicide. This is something people don’t know what to do with. Some say people need to just love Jesus and others say it’s completely mental health issues. I’m not a professional in that but what I have experienced is the effects of suicide. My mom committed suicide when I was 13. One of my pastor friends, Jarrid, took his own life. I went to a house right after another friend hung himself. These are devastating situations. Sometimes I don’t know what to pray. There are times I just sit and cry. There is complete sadness watching people suffer and dealing with their own mind games.
Over the past 2 years I know of 3 pastors that took their own life. It’s sad. There are Pastors that are hurting and feel like they have no where to turn. Many people don’t realize what goes on in the mind of a pastor. I can’t speak on behalf of everyone but many I have worked with through Ministry Collective and over 10 years of being a lead Pastor I can tell you something. As pastors, we struggle.
People look to us as one that has it all together. There are many times where I have preached to 10 or thousands and I can see people who have it more together than I do. I’m emotional. I cry. I’m a man who lacks strength. I get “beat up” by people’s comments while smiling. Making decisions that fail brings frustration within me. Others see failures and must point them out.
Every week I pray for our people. I weep when people suffer and celebrate with the friends called Church members that God allows me to pastor. I always have and I always will. I pray for God’s direction. I seek others for the purpose of council to help with direction. I don’t work by myself in making decisions to help combat isolation.
This is a reality. There have been many times where we as pastors pray for God’s direction and discernment with a sermon. We will “feel good” about how things will go. When Sunday comes we are pumped. When it’s done many pastors are discouraged. This is behind the scenes info but some pastors have felt so discouraged on Monday that they want to quit.
From that feeling then it’s praying/helping people who are struggling and you do whatever it takes to encourage them to seek God and keep going. Choose Jesus over everything. Love Jesus more than anything like one of my good friends say. Then normally the person goes back off into a path of sin and destruction. Then someone may come and talk about the person you are trying to help just to complain and let you know they are living a life of sin. Usually, this conversation is informative not with a solution or with the person who is complaining and not helping to be part of the solution. Maybe just maybe if you help the second person they may not threaten to “leave the Church” or “vote you out” to get a new Pastor. While this isn’t necessarily my story this is a story of countless pastors who are seeking the Lord and serve week in and week out with major tensions. I can say that I have experienced something like this.
After many complaints and displeasure then we get up and preach every week knowing that some people dislike you. What we as pastors must do is be gracious like God is gracious to us. Pastors have a lot of pressure that many don’t know or experience. Most pastors in America are bi-vocational, they have another source of income, yet still serve the Lord with many heartaches. All you want as a pastor if for your friends and congregation to seek and serve the Lord.
As pastors, we realize that we don’t have it all together. As pastors, we know where hope is found. We must seek God just as much as anyone else. Pastors struggle with sin just like you. Here is what I ask if you are a follower of Jesus when it comes to your pastor.
- Pray for your Pastor and Church staff. Don’t stop. Pray for them!
- When someone is talking about your Pastor or Church staff tell the person to go talk to them instead of talking about them.
- Let your Pastor and Church staff know that you are behind them.
- Send your Pastor and Church staff a card in the mail. A small act of kindness can go a long way.
Please be kind. There are struggles that pastors have and you will never know until you walk in their shoes. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that things are way more spiritual than we know. We have a real enemy. There is a real spiritual war. Satan is the prince of the power of the air but I know who owns the air! Jesus is above all and the hope for everything we need.
If you struggle with anything that is mentioned reach out to someone. If you have thought about suicide, it’s time to talk about suicide. You can message me or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You are created to live life in community and not isolation.