Religion Magazine

Why Do Pastors Give Up the Faith?

By Sjbedard @sjbedard

It is not uncommon for pastors to leave the ministry. I am an ex-pastor, although I do still consider myself to be in the ministry. However, there are others that not only leave the ministry, they leave the Christian faith.

There is an organization called the Clergy Project that seeks to help pastors as they transition out of Christianity. There is obviously a market for such a service. It always breaks my heart to here such stories.

I can’t speak for every pastor who leaves the faith, but I can guess on some reasons. Some likely leave because of a bad church experience. I can see why that would cause an end to ministry, but it should not lead to an abandonment of faith. Unfortunately many people, including pastors, have trouble distinguishing between church and God.

Some others probably leave because of family problems. It could be because of failed marriages or rebellious children. It may seem unfair that God would allow this after all they have done to serve God.

There is likely a large number that leave because of the problem of suffering. A loved one becomes seriously ill. They witness the suffering in their community and in the world. Life seems unfair and the easiest answer to to give up on God.

One other reason is that pastors do not have the space to ask the hard questions. It is not really acceptable for pastors to openly admit doubt. Questions that must be hid can fester into unbelief. Perhaps we need another form of the Clergy Project, one that does not transition out of faith but one that transitions into greater faith. Pastors need a place to talk about their questions. I would love to make myself available for such conversations.

  • Clergy Project
  • Ministers
  • Pastors
  • Why Do Pastors Become Atheists?

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