Via Pharyngula comes a bleak picture of what is going on in the lives, hearts, and minds of Evangelical pastors:
Harsh (and sad) statistics. For an honest look at the internal life of a stand up pastor who is struggling with the challenges of his profession, I wholeheartedly recommend you spend some time exploring the blog Clergy Guy. And if you really have some time, I recommend you also check out my debate with Clergy Guy, which begins on Camels With Hammers here, goes to Clergy Guy’s blog here, and then ends back at Camels With Hammers. Pharyngula also reminds us of Dan Dennett’s interviews with secretly disbelieving clergy, about which Newsweek wrote an article.
Another article reveals even more telling statistics based on a survey of 1,050 evangelical Pastors (note these are evangelical pastors not liberal pastors):
- 89% considered leaving the ministry at one time.
- 57% said they would leave if they had a better place to go—including secular work.
- 77% felt they did not have a good marriage!
- 75% felt they were unqualified and/or poorly trained by their seminaries to lead and manage the church or to counsel others. This left them disheartened in their ability to pastor.
- 71% stated they were burned out, and they battle depression beyond fatigue on a weekly and even a daily basis.
- 38% said they were divorced or currently in a divorce process.
- 30% either has an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner.
- 23% said they felt happy and content on a regular basis with who they are in Christ, in their church, and in their home!
The same article also gives the following research distilled from Barna, Focus on the Family, and Fuller Seminary.
- 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
- 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
- 80 percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
- 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
- 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
- 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
- 40% of pastors polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.