In the past few days, a couple of pastors I know have gone to glory in their prime. While many may say many things from the spiritual angle only, I resist the temptation of being naive and gullible.
~ One died going to drop his members after Sunday service. He probably died due to over-exhaustion of his health.
~ Post activities exhaustion led to fatigue and accident that took the life of one of the most handsome young vibrant zealous man of God I know in Ghana.
~ A Nigerian female Pastor slumped and died in the United States and her host couldn’t even try to connect the family because they can’t afford the $,5000 morgue fee. They allowed the govt to set her for mass burial if not for a friend in USA that alerted us two days before and effort was made to trace her family in Lagos by my friend – after many inquiries.
CAUSE: Pressure and failed hope.
~ Another died in his sleep after Friday night vigil. If he had taken adequate care of his health, maybe he will still be alive by now.
The story never ends.
~ Another died because none was available to help, even the members he burnt his life for and the so called ministers and spiritual sons and daughters were no where to be found in his hours of needs.
~ Most of these people are Bishops with good standing, viable ministries and graduates from good universities.
We conducted mild medical examinations for some Pastors after one of our meetings few years ago, about 200 pastors participated.
I insisted that no minister above 40yrs of age will leave without being evaluated by the medical team, except those in their twenties and early thirties.
The result was mind bugling,
~ over 30% had a elevated BP within 180 systolic 90 diastolic.
~ 15 had extreme high BP above 200/120.
~ 28% had diabetics,
~ 16% had elevated PSA,
• Blood cultures done, showed that over 60% had different levels of bacteremia.
• Psychological analysis revealed that over 7O% had emotional problems they could not share with anyone.
• Urine analysis and smear tests were not friendly either.
• Eye examinations shows levels of deficiency and stress induced factors.
**Most of these pastors never know they had these problems… That is the sad part of the news.
They were the walking corpses physically even though spiritually alive
They are dead emotionally.
Their vision and passion is dead.
Their spiritual life has little life at all.
They are burnt out.
Many have died vocationally.
Others are waiting for burial.
Autopsies is not a pleasant topic, I get that, but I would be negligent if I did not share with you about the numbers of pastors who are dead in the ministry.
You need to know.
You need to grasp this reality.
You need to pray for them.
You need to walk alongside with them.
HOW DID THESE PASTORS DIE?
My figurative autopsies uncovered eight common patterns.
Some pastors manifest four or five of them. Many manifest all of them.
- They said “YES” to too many members.
In order to avoid conflict and criticism, these pastors tried to please most church members. Their path was not sustainable. Their path was unhealthy, leading to death.
- They said “NO” to their families.
For many of these pastors, their families became an afterthought or no thought at all. Many of their children are now grown and resent the church. They have pledged never to return. Their spouses felt betrayed, as if they were no longer loved, desired, or wanted. Some of these pastors have lost their families to divorce and separation.
- They got too busy to remain in the Word and in prayer.
Simply stated, they got too busy for God. Read Acts 6:4 again in the context of all of Acts 6:1-7. The early Church leaders saw this danger, and they took a courageous path to avoid the trap.
- They died a slow death from the steady drip of criticisms.
Pastors are human. Yeah, I know; that’s an obvious statement. We sometimes expect them to take the ongoing criticisms from members as if they were rocks. But a steady drip can destroy even the most solid rocks.
- They were attacked by the cartel.
Not all churches have cartels, but many do. A church cartel is an alliance of bullies, bully-followers, carnal Christians, and even non-Christians in the Church. Their goal is power. Their obstacle is the pastor. Many pastors have died because cartels killed them.
- They lost their vision and their passion.
This cause of death is both a symptom and a cause. Like high blood pressure is a symptom of other problems, it can also lead to death. Pastors without vision and passion are dying pastors.
- They sought to please others before God.
People-pleasing pastors can fast and easily become dying pastors. The problem is that you can never please all the members all the time. If Pastors try, they die.
- They had no defenders in the church.
Imagine a dying person with no medicare (medical intervention). That person will die. Imagine Pastors without members who will stand by them. Imagine Pastors where members are too cowardly to stand up to cartels. The Urim & The Thummim. If you can imagine that, then you can imagine a dying Pastor. By the way, this form of death is often the most painful. The Pastor is dying without anyone to help or intervene.
9 They died as a result of pressure to be like others.
Travel around the world, have a big cathedral, be announced by God, be popular and live in affluence, competing with one another or others they have no idea about their stories. They allowed wide mouthed intimidators make them feel they are failures without telling them the true stories behind their presumed success. They burnt-out and it took a toll and caused their death. They lost the simple rule of ministry that God gives to everyman that – size and miracles are not indicators of good success before the Master. The letters to the Churches in Revelation showed it clearly.
10 They died because they gave room to ignorance, ego, and unwillingness to take advantage of opportunities God provided to help and enlighten their life.
They succeeded in Church but failed their health and spiritual health because they over-evaluated their status.
- Some are killed by their fellow Pastors, who added nothing to them but negativism.
Increased their conflicts and inflicted more injury to their wound. Don’t invite a guest from afar if you have no plans for them. You break their hope and add more frustrations to the existing ones.
You have associates, you live big while they scratch to survive with their families. What you added killed them. Because they felt used, neglected and abandoned.
~ Autopsies are not fun. Talking about dying is not fun. But if you are a Church member, or a Senior rich selfish ego exhibiting, exaggerating Pastor, you can be a part of the reasons why Pastors are dying because of your unwillingness to be sensitive and to do the right things.
Pastors have a tough job. They get more kicks than kisses. If a pastor is young, he lacks experience; if he’s grey–haired, he’s too old. If he has five kids, he has too many; if he has none, he’s setting a bad example. If his wife sings in the choir, she’s being forward; if not, she’s not dedicated enough. If he preaches from notes, he’s dry; if his words are impromptu, he’s too shallow. If he spends too much time in his study, he’s neglecting his people; if he makes home visits, he’s not a good time manager.
If he’s attentive to the poor, he’s after public approval; if he attends to the wealthy, he’s ingratiating. If he suggests improvements, he’s a dictator; if he doesn’t, he has no vision. If he uses too many illustrations, he neglects the Bible; if he doesn’t use enough stories, he’s unclear. If he speaks against wrong, he’s legalistic; if he doesn’t, he’s a compromiser.
If he preaches for an hour, he’s windy; less than that, he has nothing to say. If he preaches the truth, he’s offensive; if he doesn’t, he’s wishy–washy. If he fails to please everybody, he’s hurting the church; if he tries to please everybody, he has no convictions.
If he preaches tithing, he’s a money–grabber; if not, he’s failing to develop his people. If he receives a large salary, he’s mercenary; if he doesn’t, it proves he’s not worth much. If he preaches on a regular basis, people get tired of hearing the same person; if he invites guest preachers, he’s shirking his responsibility.
And you thought your pastor had an easy life!
How’d you like to change places?
Bottom line: Love your pastor.
Credit: John Egah Page