A few weeks ago, a Presbyterian pastor in Illinois named Alex Lang published an essay entitled, “Why I Left the Church.”  The article was read by over 350,000 people – many of whom were pastors.  In the article, Lang detailed the difficulties of serving the church during a time that has been called, by some, “The Great Dechurching,” when organized religion seems to be in decline.  Combine this cultural moment with the COVID-19 pandemic and political/racial polarization along with some of the regular difficulties of serving in certain congregational contexts and there is a LOT that could make some pastors feel stressed and burned out.  Lang was feeling this and, upon preaching his last sermon, published the essay about why he was walking away from serving a local church.

In response to Lang’s article, some people said, “Wow! I can really identify with some of this.”  Others said, “Yes, I can see that Lang has had a difficult time, but his experience does not match my own.”  Still others decided to write articles/essays that simply declared, “Why I Stayed in the Church.”

When I read Lang’s article, I couldn’t help but think about how I could see some truth to what he was saying, but there are a LOT of people who have stressful jobs.  Also, I couldn’t help but think about how he described not putting certain boundaries in place when it came to walking alongside his parishioners, carrying their struggles and burdens, and not having a healthy outlet for unburdening himself of the emotional toll that caring for others can have on us.  Anyone – whether they are pastors or not – can feel pressure like this. . . the pressure of helping bear the unbearable on behalf of those we love.  

With Lang’s article on my mind, I was looking at some materials for Christmas (yes, trying to plan far in advance!) and stumbled upon a piece of music called “Quittez, Pasteurs.”  It is an old French carol that tells the story of the Shepherds who leave their flock to go and worship the baby Jesus. You can hear it HERE. It’s a beautiful song!  I couldn’t help but laugh at the title, though, which I read, at first, as “Quittez Pastors.” Maybe if we were looking for a theme song for this season in the life of the church, some people might vote for something like “Quittez Pastors.”  I don’t want to make light of pastors who are stuck in impossible situations or those who serve the church in emotionally abusive  situations.  Some people just need to leave where they are.

I am so thankful, though, that I do not count myself as someone who feels the need to quit.  I’m too far in – about to celebrate my 19th year of ordination and about to celebrate 10 years at BPC.  I’m too far in – in how God continues to reaffirm my call to serve the church.  I’m too far in – in my gratitude for the dedicated leaders and members of our church community.  And I’m too far in – in my hopes for the future.  

So, “Quittez, Pasteurs”?  Not this pastor, thanks be to God!

I am so grateful to be your pastor and am hopeful to see what God has in store for us. . .

See you in church!  

Grace and Peace,


Prepare for Worship

This Week:  “Pray Always and Don’t Lose Heart (Living Discipleship # 2 – Daily Prayer)”

  • Read Luke 18:1-8
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-25
  • Read Genesis 18:9-15 and 21:1-7
  • Read or sing Hymn # 735 – “I Need Thee Every Hour