These statistics have been around for some time and the research was done in the 1990’s but they do strike a chord for us even today and in Singapore. The research was finished by the Schaeffer Institute, but quoted in Thabiti Anyabwile in a post titled, “Don’t Make Your Pastor A Statistic”. In the post he quoted the research of the former and I reproduce part of it here:
But if I am to believe some of the survey statistics published on pastors and their view towards the ministry, the vast majority of my fellow pastors do not feel this way and are not receiving proper care from their people. Consider these figures compiled by the Schaeffer Institute:
Hours and Pay
90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
Training and Preparedness
90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they
thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
Health and Well-Being
70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if
they could, but have no other way of making a living.
Marriage and Family
80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
80% spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.
70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
#1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.
50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.
4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
These statistics are startling and sad. Dr Richard J. Krejcir commented about this epidemic:
“After over 18 years of researching pastoral trends and many of us being a pastor, we have found (this data is backed up by other studies) that pastors are in a dangerous occupation! We are perhaps the single most stressful and frustrating working profession, more than medical doctors, lawyers, politicians or cat groomers (hey they have claws). We found that over 70% of pastors are so stressed out and burned out that they regularly consider leaving the ministry (I only feel that way on Mondays).”
However if you want to get further depressed, read the original article on why U.S. pastors leave their churches in Statistics on Pastors by Dr Richard J. Krejcir. Needless to say, we need to pray for all our pastors. And give them regular sabbaticals!