Pastors have happier marriages, stronger families than usual

Luther_im_Kreise_seiner_Familie_musizierendBarna Research has published a new study on the problems, challenges, and personal life of pastors.  (You can buy the study here.)  Among many other findings is that, on the whole, pastors have much happier marriages and much better relationships with their children than typical Americans.

And yet, despite their strong families, pastors report that their ministries have sometimes put a strain on their marriages and children.

[Read more…]

Pastors, have you been asked to do a gay wedding?

There have been about 120,000 same-sex marriages since they were legalized nation-wide last year.  The total number of marriages in 2014 was 2.1 million.  So, assuming similar stats for the previous year, the percentage of gay weddings would be just over 5%.

How many pastors have been asked to perform gay weddings?  According to a new study, 11%.  Presbyterians were asked most often (26%), followed by Lutherans (19%), but I’m pretty sure these would be the liberal denominations in those traditions–the PCUSA, not the PCA; the ELCA, not the LCMS.  Only 1% of Baptist pastors were asked, so gay weddings seem to be largely taking place among mainline liberal protestants.

Of course, same-sex couples are unlikely to ask pastors from churches that don’t recognize gay marriages, which is logical, and they don’t seem to want to make trouble in their weddings, usually asking pastors whom they know.

Read more about the findings after the jump.

Have any of you pastors been asked to do a gay wedding?

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How pastors and other leaders deal with inner chaos

There are lots of books about leadership, particularly leadership in churches.  The book that won the Award of Merit (2nd place) in the category of Christianity & Culture in the Christianity Today Book Awards, goes much deeper than most.   Mark Sayers, in Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm, shows how leaders–that is to say, pastors–are often caught up in battling their own inner chaos.

In his discussion, he also shows why so many leaders (pastors) adopt an anti-establishment, neo-bohemian mindset in insisting on changing the institution they are trying to lead.   But the book is not a critique, as such, but a very personal treatment of its author’s own experience as a pastor, one that will be of great help to other pastors and leaders, burnt-out or otherwise, trying to do their best for the people following them.

After the jump, see the mini-review I wrote about the book as one of the Christianity Today judges. [Read more…]

Pastors with bodyguards and food-tasters

J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma Magazine, takes some of his fellow Pentecostalists to task, urging that they drop six specific teachings and practices.  What particularly interests me here is what he says about some Pentecostal pastors.  They reason that they have been “anointed” by the Holy Spirit; therefore, they are the ‘Lord’s anointed.”  Therefore the pastors take on the modern-day-equivalent perks of the Davidic monarchy, including the right not to be criticized and having “armor bearers”–that is, an entourage including bodyguards, food-tasters, someone to carry their briefcase, someone else to carry their Bible, and people throwing dollar bills at their feet.

Lutheran and other pastors, try to get this past your board of elders and your voters’ assemblies!  Then again, elders and voters–especially those with a higher view of the pastoral office than the Pentecostals have–might learn from them to treat their pastors at least a little better!  I’ll volunteer for food-taster. The list of practices after the jump. [Read more…]

Court throws out pastors’ housing allowance tax break

Pastors and other church workers have long been able to take part of their compensation as an untaxed housing allowance, resulting in substantial tax savings.  But a federal court has ruled in a suit brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation that the tax break for clergy is unconstitutional.

The ruling has been stayed, pending appeal, but if it stands, pastors and their families will take a significant hit in their income. [Read more…]

Clergy Appreciation Month

October is “Clergy Appreciation Month.”  After the jump, some thoughts on the matter from Ray Hartwig.  Let’s use the comments to honor the occasion. What do you appreciate about your pastor?  What has he done for you?  Why are you grateful for him? [Read more…]