Megachurch Pastor Pete Wilson Burns Out

It would seem that Pastor Pete Wilson had a great life. Look at his family.


Look at his church. He planted Cross Point in Nashville, TN in 2002 and it grew to six campuses and 7,500 people. It’s one of the fastest growing churches in America. He launched innovative ministries, sharing the love of Christ with prisoners and the poor in their neighborhoods. They started schools in India and churches in the Dominican Republic. He wrote best-selling books.

He even teamed up with Taylor Swift for an award-winning video. At age 42 he’d become a pop culture star.


Best of all, his purpose was to serve God. What a great life! Or maybe not.

Last Sunday he stood before the world and said:

We have a community here at Cross Point where everyone is welcome because nobody is perfect and anything is possible… My priority has been to pour my entire life into making that possible, but in the meantime I didn’t prioritize some other things that were equally as important…

You just see me when I kind of come up here on Sundays, but the reality is as leader and the pastor of a church, what happens in between those Sundays is just as important and it requires a lot of leadership and… leadership energy. And leaders in any realm of life who lead on empty don’t lead well and for some time now I’ve been leading on empty.

And so… I am officially resigning as the pastor of Cross Point Church…

I really need your prayers and I need your support. We’ve said that this is a church where it’s OK to not be OK, and I’m not OK. I’m tired. And I’m broken. And I just need some rest.

Pastor Burn Out

Numerous research studies have reported alarming Pastor Stress Statistics. They show that many pastors resonate with Pete saying he’s been “leading on empty” and he’s “broken.” For instance, 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave their ministry if they could and 70% fight low self-esteem and depression.

At this point we don’t know why Pete Wilson got to his place of being “not OK” except that he admitted that he didn’t prioritize “other things that were equally as important” to his ministry. This is in the studies on pastors too:

  • 77% feel they do not have a good marriage
  • 44% do not take a regular day off
  • 31% do not exercise at all
  • 72% only study the Bible when preparing for sermons
  • 37% are dissatisfied with their prayer life
  • 80% believe their pastoral ministry has negatively affected their family

In many ways the stress is even worse on pastors’ spouses (especially the wives of male pastors). Our summary of the research shows Unfair Expectations on the Pastor’s Wife.

Is it Really That Bad to Be a Pastor?

I want to believe the situation is not that bad for pastors. Indeed, most of the pastors we help in our Soul Shepherding ministry are better off. Many are happy and thriving in their ministry, marriage, family, and their own soul under God.

“The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). But we may lose touch with that. Finding true comfort and happiness in God begins with simple things like quietly praying Scripture to “Satisfy Your Soul in a Moment.” We also need a “Christ’s ambassador” (2 Corinthians 5:20)…

Every Pastor Needs a Pastor

If you’re a pastor or other ministry leader I hope you have a pastor, counselor, or spiritual director outside of your church/ministry that you regularly share with in confidence to seek empathy, encouragement and prayer. If you don’t have someone contact one of our Soul Shepherding Associates.

Who Cares For the Pastor Who Cares For You?

Most of us have a pastor. Based on what I said above, we all need a pastor. It’d be great for you to pause right now to pray for your pastor and offer an encouraging note. Here are some more ideas on how to Bless Your Pastor.

Also, Pete is asking for our prayers. He needs rest, emotional restoration, and time with his wife and kids.

You can listen to Pete Wilson’s 9 minute announcement here:


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