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Research on Pastors




Research on the Happenings in Pastors' Personal and Church Lives.




"So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." Acts 6:2-4




A pastor is a person called by God to serve in ministering and leading the people in his or her care in discipleship, to worship closer to Christ as Lord.  A pastor is as a shepherd, that lays the model of Christ on their people for replication.  The word "pastor" comes from the Latin meaning "to pursue or lead a flock to 'pasture' for grazing".  We may not be driving our church folks to the grasslands; nevertheless, being a shepherd in a church means being God's commissioned servant leader--Priest, Minister, or ordained Elder--and leading others to Christ.  A biblically-minded minister of the Lord will truly desire the knowledge of God's Word and its proper application in our lives for His Glory. There will be challenges, issues, and setbacks; however, the calling is great and the reward is eternal (Jeremiah. 3:15; Matthew 9:36; 25:32; 26:31; Mark 6:34; 14:27; Luke 2:8, 15, 18, 20; John. 10:2-16; Acts 6:1-7; 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:20; James 1:22; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:1-5).

Because of God's call and Schaeffer's influence, we desire to see a church committed to His purpose and poured out to His ways. Then we will see revival through real prayer and devotion to His Lordship. For thirty years we sought "True Truth!" This is what we found, and it is not pretty: our churches are not glorifying Christ because we are failing at knowing and growing in Him personally. We are not able to teach others when we are failing at following His Word and Christ alone! Remember, it is His Church and we are the caretakers of it. Thus, we must act according to our call and His precepts. 


So, what is going on with today's servants of the Church?


Statistics on Pastors: 2016 Update

Research on the Happenings in Pastors' Personal and Church Lives.

So, what is going on with today's servants of the Church?

Since first studying pastors in the late 80's, we are seeing significant shifts in the last 20 years on how pastors view their calling and how churches treat them.

We have seen that although the work hours are still long and the pay below a living wage, pastors are much happier with their congregations and their marriages are looking stronger.  Churches, for the most part, treat their pastors better than we saw in previous studies.  Significant strides have been made. The data we collected has pointed to the causes and motivations of stress, burnout, and church dysfunction.  Many churches still place unreasonable requirements upon pastors.  Pastors, in turn, are overworking themselves to appease congregational expectations while facing volunteer apathy, criticism, and a fear of change.  A brief overview of the statistics:

  • 79% of Evangelical and Reformed pastors are happier personally
  • 88% of churches are treating their pastors better, too
  • 88% have a high view of Christ
  • 75% are better at their spiritual formation
  • 57% are more satisfied in their calling
  • However, 54% of pastors still work over 55 hours a week
  • 57% can't pay their bills
  • 54% are overworked and 43% are overstressed
  • 53% feel seminary had not properly prepared them for the task.
  • 35% battle depression
  • 26% are overly fatigued
  • 28% are spiritually undernourished and 9% are burnt-out
  • 23% are still distant to their families
  • 18% work more than 70 hours a week and face unreasonable challenges
  • 12% are belittled.
  • 3% have had an affair
  • Yet, 90% feel honored to be a pastor!

PDF Report with graphs and insights:


The biggest problems stem from a lack of desire to please Christ, a lack of love for one another, from a lack of spiritual growth, and a lack of prayer. Take care of these, and you will be an incredibly faithful and abundant church and a content pastor.


Other gathered data from interviews, consulting data, social media polls and pastors conference surveys (not indicative of a national random sampling like those above, but provides insights and warnings):

Pastors are happier, but not healthier.  Congregations are much more in tune with what is going on with their church leadership and their pastor's needs; but, we have a way to go.

  • 65% of pastors feel their family is in a 'glass house' and fear they are not good enough to meet expectations.
  • 35% of pastors feel their churches are in sync to their family needs.
  • 56% of pastor's families are pleased with their church.
  • 24% of family's resent the church and its effects on their family.
  • 52% of pastors feel they are overworked and can't meet their church's unrealistic expectations.
  • 44% of pastors feel their churches are in sync to ministry agendas.
  • 58% of pastors feel they do not have any good true friends.
  • 42% of pastors feel their church, empowers them to have a life outside of the church.
  • 34% of pastor's battle discouragement on a regular basis. 66% do not.
  • 35% of pastor's battle depression or fear of inadequacy. 65% do not (This is an opposite correspondence from our last major study in 1992 and 2000).
  • 27% of pastors stated they have no one to turn to if they are facing a crisis. 73% do.
  • 60% of pastor's wives feel their church teats their family well
  • 22% of pastor's wives feel the ministry places undue expectations on their family.
  • 26% of pastor's wives feel church is a prime source of stress for their family.
  • 63% of pastor's wives feel finances is a prime source of stress for their family.
  • 45% of pastors spend 10-15 hours a week in sermon preparation, 25% spend 15 to 20 hours, 25% less than 10 hours per sermon. In contrast to the 'masters,'* John MacArthur is, 32 hours, John Piper is 14 to 16 hours, Tim Keller is 14-16 hours a week. But then again, these guys have it down, whereas a more inexperienced pastor may take longer, and a lazy or ineffective pastor will be under 8 (*  (Pastors also reported a struggle to create a quality and impacting sermon every week.)
  • 50% of Pastors reported they spend an average of 3 to 4 hours a week in needless meetings!  25% spend more than 5 hours a week!
  • 77% of pastors spend 20 hours a week or more with their families; this is significantly up from previous studies!
  • An observation, not researched, of many pastors today, perhaps 50%, is that they are very unhealthy, overweight, with health problems stemming from poor food intake and excess junk food, a lack of exercise, and to a lesser extent, alcohol.  Three doctors I talked to with who see a lot of pastors have told me there is a significant increase of hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular problems, and depression.

We have lots of well-researched, tried, and true practical resources to help your personal lives, build your ministry, and lead and manage your church, including how to handle critics and how to recruit volunteers.

Curriculum's for pastors, lay ministers, elders and church leaders to guide them in the process of developing a leadership plan and how to implement it. /Church-Growth 

Articles to help Build our Pastoral Heart and Personal lives for God's Glory:

Biblical and Practical Resources for Leading a Church: /Church-Leadership




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