Friday, August 13, 2010

Why Pastors need Pastoral Care

Some sobering statistics from Pastoral Care,Inc.

Man standing by cross

  • 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor's children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.
  • 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.
  • 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
  • 75% report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
  • 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
  • 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged as
    role of pastors.
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they
    thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
  • 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
  • 33% confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if
    they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
  • 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.
  • 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor's ministry.
  • 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
  • 80% spouses feel left out and underappreciated by church members.
  • 80% of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose a different
  • 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves.
  • Moral values of a Christian is no different than those who consider themselves as non-Christians.
  • The average American will tell 23 lies a day.
  • The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”.
  • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
  • Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month , many without cause.
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.
  • Many denominations report an “empty pulpit crisis”. They cannot find ministers willing to fill positions.

#1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastor's believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.

Statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc.

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Blogger Paul Long said...

It's got to be God's calling! And an abundance of God's grace!

4:57 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Interesting stats Alex. I was amused by "55 to 75 hours per week". Maybe pastors work that much on your side of the world but over here (in my experience) pastors count a half day of work on Sunday as a full day and consequentially only work four week days.

These stats do speak to the overwhelming need that we have to change the system of doing church.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Paul,
I agree with you fully that it's got to be God's calling, sustained by his grace.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Bob,
Interesting observation that pastors work a four day week.

Most pastors I know put in more hours than that.

I agree with you that we have to change the way we do church or we will be facing a shortage of pastors.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I would be interested in knowing what pastors in your area spend the majority of their time doing Alex. Is their focus a balanced one? Maybe a breakdown (i.e. 25% study/preaching teaching, 25% administration, 25% counseling, 25% pastoral care) would be helpful in helping me to understand what it is like to be a pastor where you are.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Paul Long said...

After reading Kansas Bob's comments, I did some calculations and did conclude that the working hours stats seemed rather high.

I did a personal checking of my hours - using an avg of a typical 4 week period as some key activities are alternate weeks and came up with 56 hours.
I did not count a typically understood regular day in the office etc as 8 hours (as 1 hour is lunch hour) but actual working hours doing stuff that relates to church / ministry. When there are special projects / activities, my hours do go up - but IMHO not significantly as I can block time from my regular day to cater for these activities though my night hours sometimes tend to be affected.

In terms of percentage, it is hard to say. I think I do try to out in 25% for sermon prep and study but I do think it is less at times, esp when I have a break from preaching, though I still do lighter study (general preparation). Admin does take up I think 25% (depends on what needs to be done). Pastoral care and visitation prob 30-40% - depending on how it is defined. Rest of the time seems to be devoted to things related to my personal spirituality and sanity and just touching base with people, which is for networking and building relationships (very vital) (Does not include my hobbies though as that would not be right) except when my hobby time is specifically and directly related to a church project.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Thanks Paul for answering Bob's question. Bob, Paul is pastoring a church in New Zealand. I guess one of the difficulty in the pastoral ministry is quantifying time especially if, as in many churches, there are the only one pastor for the whole congregation. Another factor is the leadership skills and time management of the pastor.Being able to delegate and not micromanage is an important asset.

The stats are from the States and is complied by three organisations.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I like what Paul said on his blog:

"This is not to say that a pastor's job is more noble or spiritual or even necessarily more difficult than other jobs, just that it is certainly very different."

I do think that the difference is perceptual though. If a pastor is neglecting his family because he is a workaholic, or he has bad priorities, it is no different than a doctor or lawyer doing the same. The only thing different is the religious rationalization that is used to justify the sin.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Bob,

In some ways, the difference of a vocation of a pastor from that of a doctor or lawyer is more than perceptual. A pastor enjoys more flexibility with his hours and hence needs greater discipline than doctors and lawyers.

You are right though that pastors have a good 'built-in' justification for their actions i.e. doing what God wanted, which is almost as good as the doctors' my-patients-need-me one.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Not to be insensitive but possibly the correct comparison would be to that of a salesman or small business owner (rather than a doctor or lawyer) who has a more flexible schedule. In that case perhaps the difference is perceptual?

I guess all I am saying is that we all have a vocational calling.. some minister inside the church and some outside of it.. and neither is more important or more valued than the other.. we are all brothers and sisters standing on level ground at the foot of the cross.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Paul Long said...

Wanted to blog more on this - but no time! LOL ... too busy? :-)
Pastors and hours ... this was one of the key thoughts that was on my mind when I suddenly woke up at 2 AM! Even 56 is probably too high so I need to see what exactly has been taking up 56 hours - is it really 56 hours?
Kansas Bob made some important points - I need to figure out whether my priorities are correct and whether I am setting a good example

I made the decision early this morning to be very specific in tracking my activities and the hours for a week. I could recall details from last Thursday so I am starting from there. Will be interesting :-)

But one thing I know for sure, pastors should be careful about whining about their long hours. Many wonderful lay people work long hours honoring God in their workplace, and then after that they give many extra long hours to ministry. In that sense, they do work very long hours, probably more than many pastors - and for the glory of God.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Thanks for leaving such a great comment Paul! That last paragraph is spot on.

9:37 PM  

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