Stress, Loneliness, Politics Are the Leading Causes of Pastoral Burnout: Survey
Stress, loneliness and politics are the top reasons for burnout among pastors and why many pastors are leaving ministry, according to a new study from Barna Group.
The survey found that among 510 Protestant senior pastors, 42 percent said they were “seriously considering” leaving full-time ministry.
In January 2021, that number was 29 percent.
The new survey found that the leading reasons for leaving their jobs were stress of the job (56 percent), feeling lonely (43 percent) and the current political climate (38 percent).
Those were also the top reasons given for pastors facing burnout, according to the survey.
“Intense leadership challenges of the past two years — such as congregational divisions over the pandemic, politics, social unrest, and building digital ministry from scratch — continue to weigh heavily on pastors,” said David Kinnaman, CEO of Barna Group.
“The toll is continuing to add up for pastors, who are essentially frontline spiritual workers. They need empathy and support as much as any time in the crises of the last two years.”
However, the survey also found that among pastors who were not considering quitting their ministries, most said they believed in the value of their ministry (83 percent), their duty to stay and fulfill their calling (75 percent) and job satisfaction (73 percent).
“While the same issues are negatively impacting pastors across the board, it’s hopeful to see resilience among those who feel a strong sense of fulfillment in their job and impact,” said Joe Jensen, Vice President of Church Engagement of Barna Group.
“This rising number shows the need for pastors to have the support and resources to help them manage these stressors in a healthy way. It’s also a wake-up call for church congregations to ensure they’re caring for the well-being of their pastors and gain a deeper understanding of the pressures pastors face every day.”
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.