Surveys of Pastors – Shocking Stats

Dec 27, 2008 by

1991 Fuller Institute of Church Growth

90% work more than 46 hours a week

80% believed pastoral ministry affected their families negatively

33% believed ministry was a hazard to their family

75% reported a significant stress related crisis at least once in their ministry

50% felt themselves unable to meet the needs of the job

90% felt inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands

70% say they have a lower self esteem now compared to when they started in ministry

40% reported serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month

37% confessed to having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church

70% do not have someone they consider a close friend

George Barna, What Americans Believe

Less than one half of the people most committed to the church say that their church performs its primary duties with excellence

2 out of 3 adult Americans (67%) say there is no such thing as absolute truth

Blackmon & Hart, Clergy Assessment & Career Development

12% of ministers report they were depressed often or always in their ministry

Malony & Hunt, The Psychology of Clergy

William Moore in a study of 341 clergy from 36 denominations and 43 states showed that unrealistic expectations are a major factor in pastor burnout

60% of clergy wives hold full time jobs or are involved in careers

Some studies suggest 70% of clergy report experiencing major distress

33% have considered leaving the ministry

Leadership, Fall 1992 Marriage Problems Pastors Face

81% insufficient time together

71% use of money

70% income level

64% communication difficulties

63% congregational differences

57% differences over leisure activities

53% difficulties in raising children

46% sexual problems

41% Pastor’s anger toward spouse

35% differences over ministry career

25% differences over spouse’s career

Current Thoughts & Trends, December 1992

28% of pastors said ministry was a hazard to family life

16% said it didn’t affect family either way

57% thought it was beneficial

94% felt under pressure to have the “ideal” family

Estimated 20% of 300,000 clergy suffer from long term stress

One year the Southern Baptist paid out $64 million in stress related claims, second in dollar amounts only to maternity benefits

Leadership, Fall 1992

70% indicated their compensation contributed to marriage conflicts

22% feel forced to supplement their church income

Current Thoughts & Trends, May 1992

Last 3 years, typical pastor’s salary increased less than 1/2 the inflation rate

Average increase for 1988-1991 was 7.4%

Over 40% of single staff pastors felt they were underpaid

33% of senior pastors felt they were underpaid

Duane Alleman, Theology News & Notes, Fuller Seminary

Survey of 228 Pastors’ wives revealed

45% have no close friends

almost half felt constrained to develop close friends in the local church context

Ministries Today, Nov / Dec 1992

Peter Wagner surveyed 572 pastors concerning prayer

Average pastor spent 22 minutes a day

57% spend less than 20 minutes a day

34% spend between 20 minutes and 1 hour

9% pray for 1 hour or longer

Focus on the Family Survey

1500 pastors surveyed

Over half do not meet with a prayer partner regularly

1 out of 4 do not have a trusted friend in ministry

Only 20% have 2 or more paid staff members

Current Thoughts & Trends, July 1992

3 out of 4 church members would give their pastors an “A” (44%) or a “B” (33%)

Only 4% would give them a failing grade

While clergy salaries have risen, buying power has decreased

Source: Pastors at Risk by H.B. London & Neil Wiseman.Victor Press. 1993.

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  1. Michael Barger

    The statusitics were helpful, but I think that they are quite out of date right know… I believe that it is worse than those numbers. I appreciate your all’s help and ministry though.

  2. Kevin Strome

    Thank you for the stats but do you have some more current stats? If so could you e-mail them to us.We have enjoyed your web-site and are impressed with your ministry. We are looking at starting a retreat center in BC Canada. Our web site is  If you have any thoughts or ideas that might help us get started we are always open to them.Thanks

  3. am lease to see such sta online, it will help some of us to know where to adjust and to helpm ohters who dont know. thanks

  4. I had to read your post three times to get the full meaning of it. I enjoy reading what you have to say. It’s too bad that more people do not understand the benefits of coaching. Keep up the good work.

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