Startling, depressing statistics on U.S. pastors

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.

Church Relationships

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.

Longevity

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!

Diary of a silent retreat 3

Monday, 15th November:

relax

It was the third day of the retreat. Enter the story, my director tells me. Experience the moment, the whole scene.

The passage he gave me was the wedding at Cana.

Tell Jesus how you are feeling and what you need and listen as he speaks in your imagination.

This Ignatian way of meditation took time. But it was worth it for the Spirit was free to inspire my often unused right-brain to yield insights and applications otherwise missed by normal left-brained, logical, rational interpretation.

Relax, he reminded me.

getting food at dining area

free seating, eat as much as you want

The silence at mealtimes seemed odd but I got used to it. We avoided eye contact. Eyes can talk too, as lovers and children know. We ate in silence, even if those who sat opposite or beside were friends.
Annie and Deena- gd friends, side by side

Never liked food for the masses. Especially hotel food in church camps. The Thai food here was mostly rice, vegetables with slivers of pork or chicken, and gourd (and good) soup, and the occasional spicy dish(we had chicken curry once). But no complaints from anyone, which was unusual for Singaporeans, even Christians. Maybe the enforced silence.. haha. For me, I was happy with the food. Slowed down, with no distracting talk, my senses, including taste, became sensitive.

Tuesday, 16th November:

chapel 2

Be gentle with yourself, was his mantra to me. Was I so harsh with myself, or was he just warning me in advance, knowing my tendencies to condemn or judge myself? Be gentle, he kept saying.

You are suffering from burn-out, he said.

This was after having heard me for a few days. He had thus joined a chorus of pastor friends who had sung the same song. Well, that was why I was there.

Do not make any major decisions until after you have taken your sabbatical. Certainly, don’t make any major decisions here.

Was that a relief for me to hear? Not really, I did not enter into retreat with any intention of praying about making any major decisions.

Just enjoy Me, the Lord had said to me the morning before I left, and I have stayed with that word, since day one of the retreat.

Wednesday, 17th November:

communion every evening

Holy Communion every night. Eucharist sounded better. It means “thanksgiving”. Our reasonable response to his gifts as a coupleof blood and body is, Thank you Lord.Yes Lord!

Tonight was special. The Lord whispered, Everything I have is yours. My faith was stirred and joy bubbled up in song within.

Learned to doodle (see right) with my Samsung Jet Dynamic Canvas, some sketch software in my mobile. Yep, I guess I just had to touch something electronic. No laptop, no TV, no newspaper, no radio here in the desert.