Statistics About Pastors
June 9, 2010
I am writing this blog because I know the nature of my pastoral / prophetic calling is being expanded and blossoming in recent days. I don't know where it will ultimately end or how it will ultimately look, but I know that along with my "normal" pastoral duties I am growing ever more concerned about other pastors and their lives. I have the rare privilege of being on 2 national phone calls with pastors from all over the United States and I am listening to their challenges, needs, and vision and I am both encouraged and concerned.
I am encouraged because I am finding scores of pastors who are credible and integral witnesses of the ministry. They have healthy local churches as well as families and are doing a solid work for the Lord. Sometimes the news makes it appear like ministers are falling like flies everywhere, but let me just say that there are hundreds of "eagles" who are representing their Lord well in their calling.
I am concerned because between my personal knowledge of ministerial failures and also reading the statistics I am seeing a trend that needs to be addressed. It really is true that if the Enemy can strike the shepherd, then the sheep can be scattered. I suspect that is why we see as many high profile failures as we have seen in the past decade. Let me open your eyes to some statistics I have just found:
1. 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their church.
2. 4000 churches start every year but over 7000 churches close.
3. 50% of pastors' marriages fail.
4. 80% of pastors and 84% of their wives feel unqualified and discouraged in their roles as ministers.
5. 50% of pastors say they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
6. 80% of all Bible School graduates who enter ministry will leave it within 5 years.
7. 85% of pastors say their greatest problem is they are sick and tied of dealing with problem people, disgruntled members, and uncooperative leaders.
8. 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
9. 100% of pastors have a pastor friend who has left the ministry.
10. 71% of pastors battle depression.
11. 38% of pastors have been divorced or are in a divorce proceeding.
12. 81% of pastors feel that they are not being resourced or helped in being a successful pastor.
13. 77% of pastors felt like their marriage was "on the rocks".
14. 75% of pastors feel poorly trained to manage their church.
15. 72% of pastors state they only study the Bible when they are preparing for a lesson or sermon. (Only 38% had a devotional time)
16. 80% of adult children of pastors have had to seek professional help for their experience as a pastor's child.
17. 70% of all pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.
18. 80% of pastors spend less than 10 minutes a day in prayer.
19. 30% of pastors have had an inappropriate sexual encounter. (However, 70% have been faithful!)
20. 23% said they were content and happy in the ministry.
Can you see my concern?
The good news is that Tracie and I can say truthfully that these are the best days we have ever experienced in ministry and our relationship and our family is in great shape. And while that may be a great personal testimony can I also say that Tracie and I are not surprised one bit by those statistics. While it is shocking to see it in "black and white", I know it to be true on so many levels. My heart does not look at that list in judgment, but rather compassion and heartache. Of course, there is redemption and even restoration in many cases of ministerial failure and fall-out, but wouldn't it be good to get ahead of the statistics?
What can you as a church member do?
1. Pray for your pastor and all the shepherds of our nation. Pray that they are refreshed and that their voices will again be the sound that leads this nation back to godliness and righteousness.
2. Love and be a joy to your pastor. A pastor knows that a part of the call is fighting with the devil; but don't you fight with him (them) too. You be the low maintenance person whom the pastor will reflect upon with fondness!
3. Honor and defend your leader. Be one of the "mighty men or women" in the church. Be faithful and loyal and it will pay dividends before the face of God.
What can other pastors do?
1. I believe every pastor needs a pastor. I mean a "real" one; not just one on paper. This should be a mutual trusting relationship where you both can talk safely and openly. A place where you can be prayed for and not worry that you will be the fuel of gossip. Pastors lives can be lonely and isolated and WE NEED EACH OTHER!
2. Find a group of pastors you can relate to with the same spirit as was mentioned above. We need friends in the ministry and help on occasion. We need people we can bounce things off of who understand the inner workings of the role of pastor.
3. Fall in love with Jesus again and the Bible. Make some time to read His Word in order to hear His voice and not just get your next lesson. If a message comes out of that...great; but the point is to receive.
4. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. This is when we are strengthened and built up. It would be even better if you had your spouse and other appropriate pastors praying in agreement with you as well. You know the old saying, "The family that prays together, stays together".
I know these are challenging days in America, but if we can get our act together as pastors the I believe God is willing to turn our nation around. Whatever part, however large or small, I may get to play; I want to be a part of the answer and not the problem.
STILL PLANTING A CROSS
Return to Blog Home Page