“I did not feel supported by denominational officials” is the third reason ministers leave the pulpit. In denominations where pastors are appointed to churches, the pastor is charged with the overall program. He/She is expected to lead the congregation in all aspects. Decisions have to be made that are best for the church. When the congregation supports decisions, positive results occur. Occasionally, decisions that are right are not supported. The church is not a democracy, but numerous church members act as if it were. They honestly believe that the majority rules, whether the pastor agrees or not. This is when the pastor needs the support of the denominational officials. Trusting denominational leaders can be a huge factor that can make or break the pastor and his authority with that congregation.
Superintendents should be the ministers a pastor can talk to without being concerned about confidentiality. Sadly, this is not always the case. I remember several times when what I shared with a superintendent was not held in a confidential manner. When a pastor has this happen, it is not easy to be free around that person, leading to more isolation. When there is little or no support from the denomination and the congregation, the minister can easily experience the wilderness.
In fairness to the numerous superintendents and leaders who are people of integrity, I express my appreciation. The last superintendent under whom I served was such a person. Whatever I shared with him was always kept in strict confidentiality. He also supported my decisions as the pastor of a congregation in his district. This is a special gift to pastors when it happens. If pastors had the kind of support I had, fewer of them would leave.