Can the Preacher Live Happily Ever After?


The other day I was reading Wayne Cordeiro’s Leading on Empty. In his book he listed some rather alarming statistics I was unaware of for preachers. They were quite alarming.

  1. 80% believe that their ministry affects their family negatively.
  2. 33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
  3. 75% report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
  4. 25% of their wives see their husband’s work schedule as a source of conflict.
  5. Those in ministry are equally likely to have their marriage end in divorce as general church members.
  6. The clergy has the 2nd highest divorce rate among all professions.
  7. 80% say they have insufficient time with their wife.
  8. 45% of their wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental and spiritual burnout.
  9. 52% say they believe that being in the ministry is hazardous to their family’s wellbeing and health.

Preachers are supposed to be examples unto the flock. “… set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (I Tim. 4:12).” Paul told Timothy to be an example in conduct, to be an example in love. As I look at this list of 9 issues that many preachers’ families suffer from, it left me wondering what type of example are the preachers really setting? Are local preachers teaching, by their example, that great devotion to God causes familial suffering? Are local preachers teaching, by their example, that divorce is the answer to marital strife? Are local preachers teaching, by their example, that family should always be expected to be sacrificed at the altar of God?

If these numbers are accurate, and I have no reason to doubt them, then what the preacher is likely teaching in the pulpit is not what people are seeing in his life. I don’t know how many of my readers are actually preachers, but for those of you that are, I want you to be mindful of your family. I know that writing lessons, doing bible studies, evangelism, and visiting are all important. But, so is your wife. So are your children. Don’t neglect them. Remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Mark 7. Jesus condemned the Pharisees because if a man called something Corban he didn’t have to get it to his parents. It had been dedicated to God. By doing so they failed to honor father and mother. Don’t make God the reason you neglect your responsibilities to your children. Don’t make God the reason your wife never gets to see you. Don’t make God the reason your home is still in disarray. Part of being a good Christian man is being a good husband and a good father!

For those of you who aren’t preachers, I encourage you to help your preacher. No, not all preachers are suffering. But, the reality is many are. Many are hurting and feel like they have nowhere to turn. Be sure to send him a card every now and then telling him how much you appreciate him. Be sure to offer to watch the kids every now and then so he can treat his wife. Be sure to allow him to take vacation time so that he can recharge his spiritual batteries. Be sure he knows that his family doesn’t have to be second fiddle to yours.


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