I just got back from a quick visit to Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve only been in AZ in the summertime prior to this visit (and it’s crazy nasty), but I now understand why so many folks choose to spend their winters in Phoenix. It was about 70 degrees and warm with a slight breeze. Anyway, I am part of a group of pastors that aid our denomination in the discussion and work towards building ‘pastoral health and excellence.’ Couple years ago, we received a grant from the Lilly Endowment Fund of about $1.7 million dollars. Not exactly chump change. The funds go towards a variety of things that iIm still trying to understand but the issue is very simple: the ministerial profession (life as pastors) is now considered one of the most dangerous or unhealthiest profession. It’s usually rated last or second to last. Nice.
48% of them think their work is hazardous to their family’s well being. Another 45.5% will experience burnout or depression that will make them leave their jobs. And 70% say their self-esteem is lower now than when they started their position. They have the 2nd highest divorce rate among professions.
Who are they? They are pastors…[read the full article]
While I love being a pastor and even more, being called to be a pastor, I want folks to know how incredibly difficult it is at times to handle the complexities and stress of being a minister. Finally, at the age of 36, I feel more at peace at how to create boundaries, love my church, deeply care for my wife and children, but I worry that I am failing my staff and pastors at the church I planted 5+ years ago. They are such amazing people who have given and sacrificed so much because of their love for Jesus, this church, and their partnership with me.
Want to read more overwhelming statistics:
- 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with spouse and that ministry has a negative effect on their family.
- 40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner once a month.
- 33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
- 75% report they’ve had significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
- 58% of pastors indicate that their spouse needs to work either part time or full time to supplement the family income.
- 56% of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.
- Pastors who work fewer than 50 hrs/week are 35% more likely to be terminated.
- 40% of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.
Simply, pastors are underpaid, underappreciated, and at times, undermined. My point is very simple: Please care, pray, and love your pastors (and church staff) in your local churches. Seriously, give them a nice payraise, more time off, regular opportunities to get away for even a day retreat to pray, buy them some dinner certificates, honor their spouses, love their children, pray for them, and regularly share your appreciation and affirmation. Now, I know that this can easily be intended to perpetuate the victim language or mentality, but it’s a two way street. Churches must seek to honor its pastors and staff and build healthy structures to ensure such care. Similarly, pastors and their families must make choices to be holistically healthy! Especially in light of the fact that we all know that pastors aren’t perfect and that they [I] will fail.
This past year, I was very thankful that our church’s Leadership Team gave the pastoral staff significant pay raises. It’s still low but much more fair. While it was offered before, I received my first payraise since Quest was planted in 2001. In addition, all the pastoral staff were given 4 weeks of vacation. I was very thankful that they raised my rest schedule to 5 weeks of paid vacation with one optional week of unpaid vacation. Thank you.