When Your Pastor is Dealing with Personal Issues

Pastors are human, and sometimes our lives get difficult too. Right now, I am going through a difficult time as my dad’s health continues to get worse. The strokes have taken a toll on his body, and we are facing an uncertain future. The only difference for me is that I am living this reality out in front of my congregation. Here is what I see happening when I, as a Pastor, am going through this personal struggle.

1. I Am Distracted
I know this seems obvious in some ways, but I need to say it. God has blessed me with a tremendous memory, and lately, I find myself forgetting things. Last Sunday I checked my phone right before I walked on stage just to make sure there were no new messages about dad. I am making frequent phone calls and trying to keep focused in a tough time. I apologize if I forget something or come off as distracted.

2. I Am Repeating Myself
I am trying to keep people informed, and I forget who I have told what. If you hear me say the same thing to you two or three times, I am sorry.

3. I Am Trying to Keep People Updated Without Drawing Undo Attention
I am not the only one going through a tough time. We have several people sitting in the chairs each week who are on the verge of loss or already on the other side. I want them to have the same care and concern I am receiving. Everyone who is hurting in the Church should get the attention they deserve, not just the Pastor.

4. I Am Emotional
I know I am going to break down crying multiple times in the future. I hope it is not in a sermon, but it could happen. I am a deeply feeling person who is losing his father and one of his best friends. It is not easy as many of you know. I simply cannot predict when I will break down.

5. I Am On Call And Can’t Know the Future.
I have decided not to run back to see dad or help mom right now. I am waiting until I am really needed. The result is that one Sunday I will just up and disappear. The elders and deacons have given me free rein to do what is necessary, and I sincerely appreciate it. It may happen in a week or a month or several months. I know one day I will run off and it will affect the Church here in some ways, please be understanding.

6. I Appreciate Your Prayer, Just Like Anyone Else.
I want you to pray for every need in the Church, this time I just want my family added to the list. Please pray for dad’s transition to heaven. Mom in this tough time. Prayer for me and my brother and sister. There are also seven grandkids including my four sons. All prayers are appreciated.

This experience is a first for me in ministry. I am feeling my way along and asking for God’s guidance. I also ask that you would be kind and compassionate to me through this time as I would hope you would do for anyone in my situation.

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