In 2013, as part of my PhD work, I surveyed 263 pastors of various on the topic of clergy burnout. In the process, I learned a lot about both the pain and the passion of today’s clergy person.
I discovered alarming statistics revealing high rates of clergy who are stressed out, worn out, burned out and dropping out. It also became quite clear that even among those who are not burned out or considering dropping out, there can be a lot of pain associated with pastoral ministry.
On the other hand, we should also note pastors are committed to their ideals, to Christ and the church. They want to be effective leaders. The church statistician Barna reports that clergy are voracious readers and purchase on average three and half books per month. Don't know if they're reading them but they're buying them! He also discovered that of those books purchased, one of the three main topics of interest is leadership.
One of the really eye-catching results of my own study was that only 2% of the pastors I surveyed reported that they are highly satisfied with their ability to influence people. That I found to be quite startling.
What about you? Pastor, are you highly satisfied with your ability to influence people? (I would love it if you left a comment below letting me know your thoughts on the reasons so many pastors feel this way!)
So, on the one hand, I see much evidence that many pastors and clergy persons are experiencing a great deal of frustration and pain. On the other hand, I also see that there is a huge interest among clergy in being more effective leaders.
The good news is that development of the skill sets known as emotional intelligence addresses and impacts both those areas of concern.
That fact compels me to share all that I can with as many pastors as possible. I believe Jesus would want me to do this.
It’s that simple.
That’s why I write these articles.