Friday, August 13, 2010

Beware of becoming a church pastor :-)

Dr. Alex posted this article (below) on his blog. Allow me to ramble on a bit before you read the article (basically interesting statistics).

I found it very timely as one of my added roles this year is to be a supervisor for a church  intern - someone in my church who is studying at a Bible College and focusing on youth ministry. She''s studying at a College called Pathways where the motto is 50% study, 50% ministry and 100% relevant in the real world. Tough motto to try and live up to, don't you think! But I digress ... Point is that the practical ministry side is literally as important as the academic side. Now that I know how to search my blog (I digress yet again), I recall blogging aspects of this practical ministry side HERE (if you are curious).

Anyway ... one of the issues I have been grappling with my intern is what I consider the huge difference between being an active church lay leader (in any department) and being in full time church based ministry. And I think too that there is a clear difference in terms of expectations between working as a church pastor and working for a para church or Christian organization. The article / stats were really a helpful reminder that being in the ministry as a pastor is a decision not to be entered into lightly.

This is not to say that a pastor's job is more noble or spiritual or even necessarily more difficult than other jobs, just that it is certainly very different. Read the stats below and you will see what I mean. And while much of the stats is USA based, I think does quite accurately reflect the situation in many other countries.

Taking on the responsibility / job of a pastor is a dangerous thing and has can end very badly for a person, his / her family, the local church as well as the universal church IF IMHO a person is not clear in his / her mind that he / she is being called by God for the job. OK, enough rambling, over to the statistics...

Statistics (article source is from HERE)
Man standing by cross

  • 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.
  • out of every 10 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
  • 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves.
  • Moral values of a Christian is no different than those who consider themselves as non-Christians.
  • The average American will tell 23 lies a day.
  • 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.
#1 reason pastors leave the ministry — 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.
Statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc.

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