Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pastoral statistics

Do we do any better in Australia?

consider the conclusions found in the USA and published recently by The Fuller Institute, George Barna and Pastoral Care Inc., namely that:

* 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
* 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.
* 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.
* 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
* 75% report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
* 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
* 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged as role of pastors.
* 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
* 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
* 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
* 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
* 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
* 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
* 33% confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.
* 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
* 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
* 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
* 10% of ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.
* 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry.
* 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
* 80% spouses feel left out and underappreciated by church members.
* 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession.
* 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves.
* The profession of ‘Pastor’ is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above ‘car salesman’.
* 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
* Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
* Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
* Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.
* Many denominations report an “empty pulpit crisis”. They cannot find ministers willing to fill positions.

And the #1 reason listed in that survey for why pastors leave the ministry was that ‘Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastor’s believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change’. Perhaps this reflects MacDonald’s statement above.

And Anne Jackson, in her recently published Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (pp. 48–9), lists the following (sobering) figures on (US) clergy health:

* 71 percent of all ministers admitted to being overweight by an average of 32.1 pounds [14.59 kg]. One-third of all ministers were overweight by at least 25 pounds [11.36 kg], including 15 percent who were overweight by 50 pounds [22.73 kg] or more.
* Two-thirds of all pastors skip a meal at least one day a week, and 39 percent skip meals three or more days a week.
* 83 percent eat food once a week that they know they know they shouldn’t because it is unhealthy, including 41 percent who do this three or more days a week.
* 88 percent eat fast food at least one day a week, and 33 percent eat fast food three or more days a week.
* 50 percent get the recommended minimum amount of exercise (30 minutes per day, three times a week); 28 percent don’t exercise at all.
* Four out of ten ministers (approximately 39 percent) reported digestive problems once a week, with 14 percent having chronic digestive problems (three days per week).
* 87 percent don’t get enough sleep at least once a week, with almost half (47 percent) getting less sleep than they need at least three nights a week. Only 16 percent regularly get the recommendation of eight hours or more per night.
* 52 percent experience physical symptoms of stress at least once a week, and nearly one out of four experiences physical symptoms three or more times a week.

H/T Jason


byron smith said...


I tried to bring up workaholism a few times with my year group (both during college and since) and each time met more than a little hostility (plus some who really wanted to talk about it too).

Mike W said...

Where do you think that hostility came from?

I know I used to get annoyed with people warning about workaholism in ministry, because they were the same people who kept scheduling more things for me to do on my day off

As for our year group
oh we all know about it, but we also want jobs. What the statistics don't tell you is that the many of the clergy who are left think this work pattern is normal, and that those who wont participate in it are soft or lazy, or that they don't really love Jesus or his church.

byron smith said...

I know I used to get annoyed with people warning about workaholism in ministry, because they were the same people who kept scheduling more things for me to do on my day off
(Was that me?)

You're right about the perpetuation of the culture because those who "can't hack it" drop out. Many of those who can and do hack it just have their families and mental health drop out.