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What Frustrates Your Pastor?

How close is your pastor to burnout? Or how far past it is he? Do you know what frustrates him? Perhaps you've never stopped to think about what your pastor and his wife need to keep them going in ministry. I'll admit that I spend more time thinking about my own needs and how my church meets them than I do about what my pastor needs. I just finished reading a review copy of a book that made me think.

Statistics from the book: 

~ 80% of pastors believe being in pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families

~ 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started

~ 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once per month

~ Only 1 of every 10 pastors will actually retire as a minister in some form

The publicist says:
Being a pastor is hard, no doubt about it. Burnout is all too common. After serving 30+ years as a pastor, Dr. Charles Stone had enough. He went in search of the killer of ministry. Working with The Barna Group, LifeWay Research, and Christianity Today's, he surveyed over 1,900 pastors and 1,000 non-pastors.
He found not one, but FIVE killers and he's calling them out in FIVE MINISTRY KILLERS and How to Defeat Them: Help for Frustrated Pastors.
5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them
My Review

According to the research included in 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them, 80% of pastors and 84/% of their spouses are discouraged or are dealing with depression (p. 33). The author also says that Focus on the Family estimates that 1500 pastors leave their assignments each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention within their local congregations (p. 43). Those are serious statistics.

In 5 Ministry Killers, Author Charles Stone has set out to examine the statistics, to evaluate the reports of the condition of those in ministry, and to provide help for frustrated pastors. He presents the information to pastors, but it’s packaged in such a way that lay people would gain much from reading the book as well. The author presents a convincing argument for the need to encourage pastors and help them renew their enthusiasm for ministry.

The book is based on sound research from multiple sources and the author approaches the topic from the trenches. I found this refreshing since he’s been there and understands that which he writes about. In a few cases, I thought maybe his experiences were a little too emotionally raw in that he comes across a little cynical, or mad. However, considering how few people really understand their pastor or his frustration, these feelings are understandable. He assumes that all 12-15% of pastors who said they had no struggles were in denial and clueless (p.55), however, I find it possible that not every pastor is frustrated. Still, the idea makes the reader want to explore a little and find out what truly does frustrate his or her own pastor.

Stone challenges the reader to think, spells out the problem, and then offers four clear steps for dealing with ministry frustration. The 5 ministry killers are mentioned in the introduction and then in Chapter 4, but then the author says, “I don’t unpack this in a linear fashion…Rather, I’ve sprinkled them throughout the book” (p. 11). I’m a little more linear in my thinking, so I would have liked to have seen a little more attention given to clearly unpacking the 5 ministry killers since that was the title of the book.

Does your pastor need this book? Most likely, yes. Why not give a copy as a gift? (see how you can win a copy below)

Note: In exchange for my fair and honest review, I received a free copy of this book from the publicist.
About the Author

Meet Dr. Charles Stone: The pastor of Ginger Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago, Dr. Stone presents the Truth of God's Word to about 1,200 congregants each weekend. He has served in ministry over thirty years and, together with his daughter, is author of Daughters Gone Wild - Dads Gone Crazy.

To watch a video of Dr. Stone discussing his new release from Bethany House, FIVE MINISTRY KILLERS and How to Defeat Them - Help for Frustrated Pastors, simply click on his image to the right.

 Win a Free Copy of This Book

Are you a pastor who would love to read this book? Are you a church member who would like to encourage your pastor with a copy of the book?

Five Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them: Help for Frustrated Pastors--Including New Research From the Barna GroupLeave a comment on this post (at not via e-mail to me) and tell me why you'd like to be entered in the drawing to win a copy.

On May 31, I'll randomly choose one name from the list of comments and send the winner an e-mail to get mailing info. Please be sure I have a means of e-mailing you. (Example: michelle at michellerayburn dot com.)


  1. Thanks for this review, Michelle, and the idea for a gift since I have Pastors in my family,it is a good idea to give them. I'd like to be in the drawing.

  2. Thanks so much Michelle, for this review. I would love to get a copy of this book. Pastoring is a job that certainly requires much endurance in this area of ministry. They need our prayers cause sometimes I'm sure its like shepherding a bunch of crazy sheep!;)

  3. I'm an ordained minister who couldn't take the constant pressure and conflict of parish ministry, so now am experiencing the constant pressure of being a full-time freelance writer and speaker. My dear wife is also an ordained minister and continues in the pulpit as a pastor of a small church. We could both use the book!



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