Though pastors are stressed about money and overwhelming ministry demands, only one percent abandon the pulpit each year, LifeWay Research finds.
In a first-of-its-kind study, LifeWay Research surveyed 1,500 pastors of evangelical and historically black churches and found an estimated 13 percent of senior pastors in 2005 had left the pastorate ten years later for reasons other than death or retirement.
The survey, commissioned by the North American Mission Board and Richard Dockins, an occupational medicine physician in Houston concerned about pastoral attrition, also examined why pastors leave the ministry and what can be done to support pastors. LifeWay Research also conducted in depth telephone interviews with 16 individuals experienced in pastoral care among those leaving or considering leaving the ministry. Insights from these experts were used in the writing of the questionnaire.
In 2017 LifeWay Research conducted an additional study among 720 Protestant pastor spouses to better understand the well-being of the families of pastors.
Despite Stresses, Few Pastors Give Up on Ministry
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Six Ways Churches Can Help Pastors Thrive
Pastors’ Spouses Experience Mixed Blessings
Click here to view the quantitative report (current senior pastors)
Click here to view the qualitative report (current senior pastors)
Click here to view the report (former senior pastors)
Click here to view the quantitative report on reasons for attrition (former senior pastors)
Click here to view the qualitative report on reasons for attrition (former senior pastors)
Click here to view the report (pastors’ spouses)
Click here to view the quantitative report (pastors’ spouses)
The study identified factors leading to pastor attrition. More common factors include: conflict, family, burnout, moral lapse, and poor fit.
The study also found that, in spite of the challenges of their jobs, 92 percent of pastors say their congregations regularly give genuine encouragement to the pastor’s family.
More resources are available at care4pastors.com