Poll: Large number of US pastors in poor health; considered quitting ministry in the last year

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A new poll shows that only 35% of Protestant pastors consider themselves to be in good mental, spiritual and physical health, and 38% of Protestant pastors said they were so stressed they had considered quitting full-time ministry in the last 11 months, the Barna research group reports.

Conducted by Barna, the new poll showed a substantial increase in the percentage of pastors who considered leaving the ministry, compared to 29% in January 2021. The poll found that one-third of all those who considered leaving this year had been in ministry for around 20 years, and at their current church for about seven years.

In particular, Barna found that 46% of pastors under the age of 45 said they thought about quitting this year. That figure compares to the 34% of pastors aged 45 and older who considered leaving.

Additionally, the poll found that pastors from mainline denominations were even more prone to consider leaving than leaders from non-mainline denominations were: 51% vs. 34%, Barna said.

In regard to pastors’ overall health, where leaders were asked about their spiritual, physical, emotional, vocational, and financial conditions, 41% said they were “average,” while a full 24% said they were “unhealthy.” Only 35% said they were “healthy.”

Commenting on the results of the poll, Barna Group President David Kinnaman said in a statement: “The pandemic along with intense congregational divisions and financial strain has caused significant burnout on pastors, driving them to the point to seriously consider leaving the ministry.”

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