Most pastors don’t finish well. I don’t know what the exact number is, but I’ve heard estimates similar to what Robert Clinton writes of Biblical leaders:
There are around 800 or so leaders mentioned in the Bible. There are about 100 who have data that helps you interpret their leadership. About 50 of these have enough data for evaluation of their finish. About 1 in 3 finished well. Anecdotal evidence from today indicates that this ratio is probably generous. Probably less than 1 in 3 are finishing well today.
I get it too. It’s relatively easy to hang in there for a few years, but it’s a different thing to finish well after decades of ministry. There are so many ways to go wrong, to stop growing, or to give in to discouragement along the way.
For this very reason, I’m excited about an appointment I have on my calendar tomorrow. Every couple of months I get together with a small group of pastor friends. I know that if I stand a chance of finishing well, it’s going to be because of friends like this.
One of them has an eerie ability to discern what’s going on in my life and speak to it. One of them seems to make it his part-time job to encourage me. One of them has an incredible ministry of prayer. And there’s one more guy who has a boldness and vision that encourages me regularly. We’re all very different, but I can’t say enough about what friendships like these have done for my life.
It’s not even my only circle of pastor friends. I can’t imagine surviving ministry without guys like this in my life.
If you’re pastoring, I hope you’ll spend time finding people like this. I believe that every pastor needs other pastor friends who know what it’s like, and who will help sustain them over the long haul. Can’t wait to see my friends tomorrow.