Thinking of Entering the Pastoral Ministry?

Here are some fun facts:

“Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”

13% of active pastors are divorced.
23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.

25% don’t know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
25% of pastors’ wives see their husband’s work schedule as a source of conflict.

33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.

45% of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.

45% of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.

50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s well-being and health.
56% of pastors’ wives say that they have no close friends.
57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.

70% don’t have any close friends.
75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.

80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.

90% feel unqualified or poorly prepared for ministry.
90% work more than 50 hours a week.
94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.

1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.

Doctors, lawyers and clergy have the most problems with drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide.

3 thoughts on “Thinking of Entering the Pastoral Ministry?

  1. Jason Goroncy 4 May 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Jim,

    I wondered if you (and your readers?) might be interested in this series of posts I did around this topic some time ago: http://cruciality.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/on-the-cost-and-grace-of-parish-ministry/

    Best, Jason.

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  2. daniel o 5 May 2013 at 4:39 pm

    According to Andrew Greeley (sociologist) catholic priests tend to be happier and healthier than their protestant counterparts. It seems celibacy has something for it at the end.

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    • Jim 5 May 2013 at 4:45 pm

      greeley is a catholic though isn’t he.

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