In Isolated World of Pastors, Churches Mum on Troubling Clergy Suicides
An alarming number of pastors have taken their own lives in the last five years. And despite the increasing prevalence of suicide nationally, and the troubling rates at which the epidemic has been affecting certain groups of clergy, many churches remain silent on the issue.
Parker's suicide came just three weeks ahead of Pastor Ed Montgomery's in November 2013. Three months later it was the Rev. Allen "Tommy" Rucker. Two months after that it was Pastor Robert McKeehan. Less than a month later is was Pastor DB Antrim. Then three months later it was the Rev. William "Bill" Scott who also killed his wife Charlotte.
Less than a year later in May 2015 it was Phil Lineberger, former president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and pastor of Sugar Land Baptist Church. Three months after that in August 2015 it was the Rev. Seth Oiler. About a year later in August 2016, it was Pastor Lawrence...
Churches should indeed have a plurality of elders to which not only is the pastor accountable, but they can rally round to support him in times of difficulty.
These elders should include one or two men who are able to preach during pastoral holidays (and yes, the pastor should be encouraged to take occasional holidays, and that‚Äôs with his wife and family as well), and the other elders should be very helpful and supportive and all should be men of prayer.
I was blessed the other Sunday when the pastor was away and an elder preached with great authority, and also led the singing of the hymns with a beautiful voice!!
Also pastors should have good friendships with other pastors of good strong biblical churches, who can swap pulpits on occasions and thereby encourage each other‚Äôs congregations.
Finally, pastors should not be expected to speak at too many conferences away from the church, should generally be accompanied by their wives when they go, and should have a cast iron day off each week when they are not to be disturbed!!
I don‚Äôt think it‚Äôs a fair analysis to equate fundamentalism a reason why pastors may not seek help for depression. Depression can either be a season or chemical makeup of the person. But, suicide is a long term problem that reaches everyone. The possibility is anyone‚Äôs guess, if you‚Äôre a pastor and fighting depression, find true Christian help. Not secular help, if given the wrong SSR inhibitor, it could kill you.
I think you are right, Neil. Congregations and esp individuals who make up those congregations have a responsibility for their brothers who happen to be teaching elders/pastors. Pastors will admit they are lonely, even those within presbyteries. Who is there to lift them up. Do we think that they are too spiritual to fall or are somehow too holy to have issues they are dealing with? Perhaps we should smash the pedistal. And as Penned asked, support each other rather with the One who is called Wonderful, Counselor rather than pointing the way to one with the licensed counselor shingle.
This "Pastor Disaster" problem, in which they are socially aloof from their congregations and act like cult leaders, won't change until congregations revise their expectations and stop demanding that pastors imitate Mussolini, and follow the Scriptural pattern for church leadership instead: real accountability for doctrine and conduct, and a plurality of elders (not sycophants) if possible. Plus, pastors ought to encourage gifted laymen in their congregations to preach, instead of recruiting "pulpit supply" from their seminary. But sadly, very few are willing to preach, as I have seen personally, despite showing potential.
So while I have often railed about pastors here before, I also realize that congregations are part of the problem too. I think it is part of a broader Western cultural problem of bad or nonexistent ethical discernment. "Don't Judge Our Hero" isn't just a Progressive mindset.
The true question is how many of these men were pastors, or just wolves in sheep's clothing. Although either way, Satan would love nothing more than to encourage them to end thier lives. One for the purpose of destroying the church. And the other for the purpose or making a miserable eternity start "quicker" if you will.
Plain Old Tim wrote: Speaking of Satan, John, I plan to preach about him tonight, and so he has been attacking me from all sides. Pray that God will give me boldness and power to paint Lucifer exactly as he is: a filthy and despicable, unspeakably wicked predatory serpent. (Can't imagine why the devil would get mad at me when I talk so sweetly about himūüėĚ)
I will indeed, brother! The one standing by your side will give you all needed help and power to adequately portray that enemy of souls the wicked devil, along with all his wicked host, which the Lord Jesus Christ can demolish with a word or a fierce glare. 'Tis the name of Jesus they cannot abide; not Tim or John, but JESUS the Almighty, Second Person of the Trinity, the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
I'm glad to hear you are being attacked doc. It shows the devil is fearful of what you are going to preach on later. The devil far prefers to keep people in ignorance, it suits his purposes better.
Lord, hear our prayer on behalf of Bro Tim. Hedge him about as he prepares for this skirmish, fill him again with your Spirit, cleanse him again with your precious blood, clear his mind and give him liberty, and bless each hearer of the word. IJN, Amen.
Speaking of Satan, John, I plan to preach about him tonight, and so he has been attacking me from all sides. Pray that God will give me boldness and power to paint Lucifer exactly as he is: a filthy and despicable, unspeakably wicked predatory serpent. (Can't imagine why the devil would get mad at me when I talk so sweetly about himūüėĚ)