General Ministry

Chuck Bomar planted and is Lead Pastor of Colossae Church in Portland, Oregon and is founder of both CollegeLeader (www.CollegeLeader.org) and iampeople (www.iampeople.org). He is author of 8 books, including the highly anticipated releases of Better Off Without Jesus and Losing Your Religion. When he is not traveling the country speaking at conferences or consulting with church or denominational leaders, he is home with his family, the place he loves to be more than any other. Chuck and his wife, Barbara, have three beautiful daughters: Karis, Hope and Sayla.

Screen shot 2013-10-31 at 9.18.20 AMA friend of mine tweeted out an article that was showing statistics on pastors that, well, shocked me a bit.  You can check out the article yourself if you’d like, but here are a few things that stood out to me:

(1) 57% (over half!) of pastors said they would leave the ministry if they had a better place to go – ministry or not.

Okay, before I go any further with listing out some other stats, this troubles me a bit. I get that we can get tired, burned out or even burned in relationships, but

  • What does this say to us?
  • What might this say about these pastors, on a personal level?
  • What might this say about their calling to ministry?

I’m not pretending like there are actual answers to those questions – answers would certainly be dependent on the individual person and specific circumstances. However, I do think some of these questions can be wrestled with a bit from afar.

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Anyway, here are some other stats that stuck out to me:

(2) 81% of pastors said they have no plan or program in place for discipleship.  Um, this is a major – very serious – problem.  But, maybe the next statistic shows a bit why this is the case:

(3) 75% of pastors felt unqualified to be in position.  I think this is much more than people being humble.  There are other issues contributing to this.

(4) 71% said they are burned out and struggle with depression.

(5) 77% said they do not have a good marriage.

(6) 30% said they have been in an ongoing affair or have had a one-time sexual encounter…with a parishioner. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m troubled by these things. Maybe these would be pretty average for any position in any industry…but I’m not sure that matters.




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  • Kyle says:

    Very sobering statistics. What this tells me is that I shouldn’t go to any pastor’s conferences in California. But it also tells me that the ministry culture is largely unhealthy.

  • Ryan Roach says:

    Very troubling indeed. I wonder if the numbers would be any different in any field. So many how not heeded the warning of James 3:1.

  • Sad stats be they field specific or about humanity in general. Even worse is that due to the way we (humans) think, with 100 new pastors reading 30%, guess how many of them will believe they are one of the 70?

    A number of years ago Rock-N-Water Christian Camps started a severely discounted (read: make Groupon look pricey) youth pastor couples retreat aimed at strengthening marriages and providing a break with a lot of fun and not a lot of stress (we’ll maybe rafting isn’t stress free). I don’t know if we can make much of a dent in stats like those in just one weekend, but it’s worth a try right?

    PS: Love that the next post in the MTD feed is “Burnt out Ministry…”

  • Greg says:

    I think stats 2 & 3 are your answer. No 2 because of 3 & no 3 because they were never taught discipleship as a young Christian. Many (if not most) churches in America have no discipleship program. This is a discussion I have regularly with other youth pastors & pastors. Christians (young & old) have no idea what it means to commune with God other than a 1-way prayer.

  • Drew says:

    I know there are too many different situations to give this is a holistic answer (there is my disclaimer) – this article is a great companion article about ministry burnout and how we get there. I think many people, pastors in this case, are ready to walk out due to the church not functioning as the church. Often I struggle to see the church as a place of worship. In fact, rather than someone trying to lead students in discipleship or teaching I feel that I am expected to be a student event coordinator. I feel like I work at a social club for ‘Christians’. Pastors want to leave because they feel they are stuck in a thankless job, are chewed out by people about things that have no kingdom value, and feel that they are making very little difference where they are.

    Maybe I’m wrong – I pray I am.

  • […] Troubling Stats on Pastors Chuck Bomar relates some thoughts about a recent survey of pastors. […]

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