Tipping Point Quick Hits (3.30.23)
Pastors are losing confidence, China warns the U.S. and Biden scolds Netanyahu
Pastoral Confidence in “Sharp Decline”
A recent survey by the Barna Group has discovered that American pastors’ confidence in their ministry calling has sharply declined. The survey showed that, today, only 58 percent of pastors “strongly agreed” that they feel called to full-time ministry, compared to 87 percent in 1992.
An astonishing 25 percent said they had “lost confidence in their calling” since they started in ministry.
Additionally, only 38 percent strongly agreed that they feel equipped to handle the challenges of ministry, compared to 68 percent in 1992. Basic pastoral satisfaction has also dropped. In 2015, 72 percent of pastors reported being “very satisfied” with their current job. That percentage has declined by 20 points in the most recent survey.
There’s a significant age gap in pastoral job satisfaction, with younger pastors more likely to be dissatisfied with their careers. The survey reported that only 35 percent of pastors under the age of 45 saying they are “very satisfied” in their work. On the other hand, of those pastors who are age 45 and older, 58 percent told Barna they are “very satisfied.”
The number of pastors who feel burnt out, lonely or unwell is growing: To put it bluntly, Barna Group’s current data does not paint a pretty picture of the state of the American pastor. Over the past few years, Protestant senior pastors have seen a drop in their job satisfaction, their confidence in their calling and their overall sense of well-being. The number of pastors who are feeling burnt out, lonely or unwell is on the rise, and this is especially true of young pastors. In short, things are a little bleak.
Barna relates the drop in job satisfaction to the overall impact of COVID on how people think about their careers. A number of secular surveys have showed a rise in workers changing their jobs in the wake of the pandemic due to increased stress, anxiety and burnout. That dissatisfaction seems to have spread into the world of ministry.
The research included nearly 600 online interviews with Protestant senior pastors in September 2022. An article written by the researchers last year revealed that pastors reported that stress, loneliness and political division were the primary reasons they thought of stepping away from full-time ministry for good.
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