Megachurch pastor and popular author David Platt will hold a special night of prayer for pastors this week as some church leaders he’s spoken with during the COVID-19 pandemic have told him they are struggling more than ever.
“Most every pastor I talk to is struggling. Including some who don’t want to go on,” Platt, the lead pastor of McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia, wrote on Twitter last Thursday.
“If you’re a pastor, I want to pray for and encourage you specifically.”
In a short video message included with his tweet, Platt says that pastors are struggling in a variety of ways.
“Some say [they are] struggling more than they’ve ever struggled in life and ministry,” he stressed.
Some of them have even “served for decades,” the Radical author pointed out.
“I’m just burdened to pray for each other as pastors right now. ... You are not alone,” Platt, the former head of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, said.
He urged pastors who are struggling to join him for a time of prayer at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Platt, the founder of Radical.net, will host what is described as a time of “Encouragement and Prayer for Pastors,” a virtual event that can be accessed through Facebook Live and YouTube.
Platt’s prayer event comes as other Christian leaders have voiced concerns about the status of fellow pastors.
In a recent op-ed published by The Christian Post, Thom S. Rainer, the founder and CEO of Church Answers, an online community and resource for church leaders, wrote that the “vast majority of pastors with whom our team communicates are saying they are considering quitting their churches.”
“It’s a trend I have not seen in my lifetime,” Rainer, the former CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, explained. “Some are just weeks away from making an announcement. They are looking for work in the secular world. Some will move to bi-vocational ministry. Some will move to marketplace ministry.”
Among the struggles that pastors are facing, Rainer said, is that they are “weary from the pandemic,” “discouraged” by fights between church members and facing declining membership, financial uncertainties, increased workload and increased criticism.
In July, a LifeWay Research survey found that 5% of Protestant pastors have dealt with an attendee dying from the coronavirus.
In the previous three months, pastors said church attendees had also dealt with reduced hours at work (74%) and losing a job (48%). According to the survey, only 29% were holding in-person Bible studies.
Barna Group’s 2017 report, "The State of Pastors," revealed that the median age of pastors had risen from 44 to 54 over the last 25 years.
“Pastors play a vital role in the health and well-being of society,” Barna president David Kinnaman said in that report. “We explore how pastors are faring in a culture where attitudes are growing increasingly skeptical to Christianity. Our goal is for pastors to feel affirmed, challenged and informed to continue the transformative work they do in their churches and communities.”
The report further revealed that pastors “are not immune to mental health struggles” as almost half have faced depression and one in five have struggled with addiction — “most commonly, to porn.”
A 2015 LifeWay survey found that eight out of 10 pastors agreed they would need to confront conflict in their existing church in the future. More than one in five pastors agreed that their church had “unrealistic expectations” of them. Also, 24% of pastors agreed they frequently got irritated with people at the church.