As a church leader, you want your congregation to view you as a pillar of strength—someone who can handle anything that life throws your way. While many pastors do possess impressive resilience, even the strongest leaders are human. This means pastors can experience struggles just like anyone else. One major roadblock for many church leaders is learning how to ask for help.

Asking for assistance is an integral part of personal growth and development, but it can feel unnatural to those accustomed to a leadership role where independence and strength are valued. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this initial discomfort—enabling you to seek out support when it is needed most. In this guide, we’ll explore several reasons pastors might have a difficult time asking for help, and discuss how you can gain the confidence necessary to reach out when it matters most.

Reasons Pastors Often Struggle to Ask for Help

Before we delve into solutions, consider some common reasons church leaders may shy away from seeking help:

Cultural Influences

Historically, Christianity has placed a high value on self-reliance, especially among Christian leaders. This can result in a fear of appearing weak or admitting vulnerability.

Perception of Strength

Some churchgoers expect their pastor to be a paragon of strength and morality—always capable of handling any challenge or responsibility with grace. Pastors may feel pressure to maintain this appearance to retain the trust of their congregation.

Internal Conflict

Your personal belief in asking for help can conflict with the cultural norms of your religious community. The desire for independence may collide with a deep understanding of the importance of seeking assistance. This internal battle creates an added sense of stress around the topic.

Prior Experience

Negative experiences when asking for help in the past may contribute to reluctance to seek aid in similar scenarios in the future. If past requests have been met with criticism or dismissal, you may be hesitant to repeat the situation.


Pride can be a significant obstacle to asking for help. It may manifest itself as fear of looking needy or weak, thus clouding your ability to recognize and address your actual needs.

How to Overcome Pastoral Reluctance to Ask for Help

Given the reasons for pastoral reticence to request assistance, let’s examine practical steps church leaders can take to overcome these mental barriers and confidently seek help when necessary:

Reframe Expectations of Strength

Consider altering your perception of what a strong leader looks like—recognizing that seeking counsel or support when needed is a sign of wisdom and bravery, not weakness. Acknowledge the value of reaching out to other professionals—be it therapists, mentors or coaches—to provide guidance and boost your personal growth.

Realize You Are Human (and It’s Okay)

Everyone is susceptible to life’s difficulties, and no one is immune to challenges or setbacks. Accepting your limitations while embracing your humanity allows you to be vulnerable—a strength in its own right. Remind yourself that sharing your struggles with trusted individuals can result in meaningful growth.

Develop a Support Network

Identify trusted colleagues, mentors, friends or family members who are available to offer assistance when you need it most. Establishing these connections can be invaluable in times of crisis or stress—giving you reliable individuals to turn to for wisdom and advice.

Practice Communication

Practice discussing your emotions and needs with others to strengthen your communication skills—sharing vulnerabilities often becomes easier with experience. This practice can help increase comfortability in asking for help when the need arises.

Reflect on Past Experiences

Reevaluate challenging experiences asking for help in the past—determine whether these scenarios truly were failures or whether they teach valuable lessons about setting boundaries or reaching out to more appropriate sources. Sometimes reinterpreting events can provide a fresh perspective and reduce future anxiety about asking for aid.

Seek Professional Guidance

If your reluctance to ask for help persists or significantly disrupts your well-being, consider engaging with professional help such as a therapist or counselor who can address these deeply ingrained fears and guide you toward better coping mechanisms.


As a church leader, recognizing and acknowledging your need for support should be seen as an act of strength—not weakness. Becoming comfortable with asking for help can lead to greater grwth, both personally and professionally, enriching your ministry and the lives of those in your congregation. By addressing the psychological barriers outlined above, you can take strides toward embracing the value of seeking guidance from others when you require it.

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