Studies indicate that 1,500 – 2,000 pastors are displaced from their church each month, or 18,000 to 24,000 a year. Unlike being laid off or fired from most other positions, the exited pastor doesn’t have the church to fall back on for support. The church is the source of the disappointment, anger and pain that can plague the ex-pastor and his family. PIR Ministries (Pastor in Residence) exists to address this tough issue. PIR Ministries partners with God and the church to provide a proven process that can restore hope to at-risk and exited pastors. At its recent meeting, the EPC’s Ministerial Vocation Committee approved PIR Ministries as a Committee Commended Resource.
PIR’s purpose is to encourage and support pastors in the vocational transitions of their lives. It provides a program called “Pastor in Residence”. This proven program helps exited pastors and their families find restoration and hope in a grace-centered church, typically for a period of six months to a year. The family is mentored through the transition process in a church setting with the help of a support group trained by PIR Ministries. The program addresses issues like isolation, bitterness, loss of passion for ministry, etc. It helps them consider the issues that led to their exit and evaluate their gifts and weaknesses. They examine God’s intent for using the exited experience for good in their lives, and reconsider their call to ministry.
Besides their ministry to exited pastors and their families, PIR is working to address issues of pastors in crisis. Recently PIR published PASTORS AT RISK, a book by the ministry’s founder, Chuck Wickman. The book addresses ten topics that often contribute to the dismissal of a pastor, which can put the pastor ‘at-risk’. PIR’s website provides helpful resources to address pastoral issues as well as a survey to help a pastor determine his level of risk for being exited.
God is using PIR to assist exited pastors, and their wives, gain a better understanding of God and themselves that positively impacts future ministry. Not all who go through the program return to full time ministry, but they do gain a new perspective of God, His working in their lives, and an understanding of themselves that makes their calling clear. Those who do return to fulltime ministry tend to be more effective and enthusiastic in serving others and advancing the Kingdom.
EPC churches with a desire to participate in this healing are encouraged to explore what it would mean to be a “refuge church.”
Several regional directors serve with PIR Ministries across the US. For more information, visit our website or contact PIR Ministries at: