Jen Hatmaker is a pastor’s wife, a writer, a mom, a public speaker, and an advocate for pastors.
Did you catch that last one? Hatmaker is deeply concerned about the well being of pastors. She writes specifically to pastors again and again in her books, articles, and on social media. Her message? Please, please take care of yourself.
A couple years back Hatmaker wrote an article in the Washington Post on how a consumer culture threatens to destroy pastors. In the article she pleads with pastors to stop trying to do it all. She also shares sobering stats on pastors’ work-life balance from a LifeWay Research poll:
- 53 percent are often concerned about their family’s financial security
- 77 percent believe their marriage is unwell
- 84 percent say they’re on call 24 hours a day
- 90 percent feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands
In response to these statistics, Hatmaker raises the following questions:
"I wonder if the American church is setting itself up for failure? If church structure — which is geared toward meeting every need, developing everyone spiritually and organizing all inward and outward ministry — results in a 90 percent failure rate, perhaps we should reevaluate.
I wonder if a “Come to us and we will do it all, lead it all, organize it all, calendar it all, execute it all, innovate it all, care for it all and fund it all” framework is even biblical? It sets leaders and followers up for failure, creating a church-centric paradigm in which discipleship is staff-led and program-driven.
This slowly builds a consumer culture wherein spiritual responsibility is transferred from Christians to the pastors, a recipe for disaster."
Though a couple years old, I thought Hatmaker's article brought to light some critical issues and asked some important questions.
Pastors, does this resonate with you? What needs to change?