Cross Point pastor Pete Wilson's resignation reveals reality of 'pastor burnout'

The recent resignation of Cross Point pastor Pete Wilson over his feelings of fatigue and brokenness shows the reality that pastor burnout can happen.

Based on the results of a survey conducted by Nashville-based LifeWay Research, 19 percent of pastors' resignation before age 65 is attributed to burnout. Ed Stetzer, who founded six churches and previously led LifeWay, said leading a large congregation can be a stressful and lonely experience, The Tennessean relays.

(Reuters/Adrees Latif)First Baptist Church Pastor John Crowder leads an open air Sunday service four days after a deadly fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, near Waco, Texas on April 21, 2013.

On Sept. 11, the former senior pastor of Nashville-based campus Cross Point Church announced his resignation from the church he founded 14 years ago. On the same Sunday that the church marked its 14th anniversary, Pastor Wilson told the congregation that he could no longer lead them because of his exhaustion and brokenness, The Christian Post reports.

"I do think that the complexity of pastoring a church of that size and growth can and has gotten the best of some people. It's not an easy task to do," said Stetzer. "I've been the founding pastor of six churches and often they're just so interwoven with you that it's hard when you're leading on empty to find a way, places and ways to get away to recharge."

For Bridge Church campus pastor Matt Svoboda, Wilson's resignation reminds him to monitor his work closely. He said if it happens to church leaders that he looks up to, the same thing could also happen to him.

Aside from burnout, there are other reasons why pastors choose to leave their responsibilities. LifeWay Research found that 40 percent of pastors who resigned before age 65 left because of a change in calling, while 25 percent leave due to a conflict in the church. Personal finances have been cited by 12 percent of pastors who resigned, and another 12 percent is attributed to family issues.

The LifeWay Research online survey was conducted in 2015 among 734 former senior pastors who resigned in four Protestant denominations. The subjects were also given the option to choose more than one reason for their resignation.