I was reading an article the other day based upon research done by David Kinnamon of The Barna Group. He provided some interesting statistics on the state of modern pastoring. They include:
*1/3 of Pastors were at moderate to high risk of total burnout (and a lot of my friends have also stated they were worn to a frazzle).
*Happy Pastors see themselves as Leaders and entrepreneurs, not managers and administrators. In fact, most pastors will state that the two things they feel least equipped to do is counseling and administration, and they feel woefully inadequate in terms of leadership and creative project development.
*Only 10% prefer leadership over-preaching/teaching. Perhaps to add insult to injury, when surveyed the reason someone attends a church, preaching was far down the list after worship or music, the children’s or youth ministry, and convenience of service times.
*The average age of a pastor is now in his mid-50’s.
In many ways, the church world in the West is in the midst of a massive transition. Present leadership needs resilience, that is, the ability to withstand the pressures of ministry (real or perceived) and recover quickly from difficult conditions.
Along with resilience (which is not entrenchment), Pastors need to be realistic in regards to the present and future. On the one hand, though our physical strengthen and endurance may wane as we advance in age, we are still vital, often preaching as well or better than ever, certainly more patient, gracious…or at least the potential is there (along with becoming crotchety control freaks!). On the other hand, as spiritual leaders we should have a continuous goal of preparing leaders for the next generation. Thus, when dealing with millennials, this sometimes feels like herding cats, but again we must persevere…keep fighting the good fight of faith, trusting the Lord that he certainly knows what he is doing, and using wisdom as we choose and work with the next generation of leaders.
Of course, Pastors are but (at best) 1/5 of the team members required to equip God’s people for mature Christian living, and probably more than the 5-fold are needed to impart the requisite skills for the next generation of leaders/pastors. So, just food for thought. May God continue to give us grace as we persevere!
In this month’s, update….” High Hopes” by Dr. Ken Chant, Special Report from Dr. Steve Mills, and book of the month from Vision Publishing… “Effective Pastoral Care Ministry In the Local Church”…