75% of pastors report being “extremely stressed” or “highly stressed” (1)

Pastoral ministry statistics

  • 75% of pastors report being “extremely stressed” or “highly stressed” (1)
  • 70% constantly fight depression (2)
  • 70% say they have a lower self-esteem now than when they entered ministry (1)
  • 45% say they have experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry. (10)
  • “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.” (9)
  • 80 percent of pastors (and 84 percent of pastors’ spouses) are discouraged in their roles. (11)
  • 50% feel so discouraged that they would leave their ministry if they could, but can’t find another job (2,11)
  • 91% have experienced some form of burnout in ministry and 18% say they are “fried to a crisp right now” (7)
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry. (8)
  • 90% say they have not received adequate training to meet the demands of ministry (2)
  • 80% will not be in ministry ten years later and only a fraction make it a lifelong career (1)
  • 100% of 1,050 Reformed and Evangelical pastors had a colleague who had left the ministry because of burnout, church conflict or moral failure (2)
  • 40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month (1)
  • 90% work between 55 to 75 hours per week (2)
  • 70% say they’re grossly underpaid (2)
  • 44% of pastors do not take a regular day off (5)
  • 85% have never taken a Sabbatical (6)
  • 31% do not exercise at all, while only 37% exercise at least three or four days a week as recommended (6)
  • 78% were forced to resign and 63% at least twice, most commonly because of church conflict (1)

94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry. (12)

These statistics have a ripple effect on the families attached to a pastor.

  • 80% believe their pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families and 33% said it was an outright hazard. (1)
  • 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry. (12)
  • 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession. (12)
  • 77% feel they do not have a good marriage (2)
  • 41% display anger problems in marriage (reported by the spouse) (3)
  • 38% are divorced or divorcing (1)
  • 80% of ministry spouses feel left out and unappreciated in their church (2)
  • 50% admit to using pornography and 37% report inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church (1)

This lack of pastoral well-being often goes unnoticed until the signs are blatant.

of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend (1)

of pastors’ wives say that they have no close friends. (10)

of pastors do not meet regularly with an accountability person or group (6)

Reported on www.soulshepherding.org/2009/11/pastors-under-stress/

(1) David Ross and Rick Blackmon’s “Soul Care for Servants” workshop reported the results of their Fuller Institute of Church Growth research study in 1991 and other surveys in 2005 and 2006.

(2) Francis A Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development research studies in 1998 and 2006.

(3) Leadership Magazine’s research for their article on “Marriage Problems Pastors Face,” Fall 1992 issue.

(4) Grey Matter Research, 2005 scientific study of pastors from every city in America.

(5)  Pastors at Greater Risk by H.B. London and Neil B. Wiseman, Regal Books, 2003.

(6) Focus on the Family 2009 survey of 2,000 pastors.

(7) Leadership Journal poll of readers, 2013.

Reported on www.expastors.com.

(8) Schaeffer Institute

Reported on www.pastorburnout.com.

(9) The New York Times (August 1, 2010)

 (10) H.B. London, Pastors at Greater Risk

Reported on www.faithstreet.com

(11) J.R. Briggs, Why Half of All Pastors Want to Quit Their Jobs, June 25, 2014

Reported on www.pastoralcareinc.com

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