Why the High Burn-out rate among the Christian God’s Clergy?

Copied from:  FormerFundy

The son of the late Jerry Falwell is concerned about what is happening among evangelical pastors. Half of pastors would leave the ministry tomorrow if they could. Seventy percent are fighting depression and 90 percent can’t cope with the challenge of ministry. Those are the statistics Pastor Jonathan Falwell laid out to thousands of ministers who were in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday for the “Refuel” conference. The well-known pastor stated bluntly, “Something is wrong in ministry” (see article).

While I would not criticize anyone for having clinical depression, depression due to discouragement is another matter when it comes to an evangelical Christian pastor. He (there aren’t very many shes in evangelical pastorates) is supposed to be a child of God, have direct access to the throne of God to ask for help and provision, be certain of going to heaven when he dies, have all of his sins and guilt removed, what in the world does he have to be depressed about–if what he believes is really the truth? The very name of the conference is interesting– Refuel . Why is it that Christians have to constantly be refueled and recharged in order to keep going? Why do they have to be reminded all of the time that their God is real?

Another article reveals even more telling statistics based on a survey of 1,050 evangelical Pastors (note these are evangelical pastors not liberal pastors):

  • 89% considered leaving the ministry at one time.
  • 57% said they would leave if they had a better place to go—including secular work.
  • 77% felt they did not have a good marriage!
  • 75% felt they were unqualified and/or poorly trained by their seminaries to lead and manage the church or to counsel others. This left them disheartened in their ability to pastor. 
  • 71% stated they were burned out, and they battle depression beyond fatigue on a weekly and even a daily basis. 
  • 38%  said they were divorced or currently in a divorce process.
  • 30% either has an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner.
  • 23% said they felt happy and content on a regular basis with who they are in Christ, in their church, and in their home!

The same article also gives the following research distilled from Barna, Focus on the Family, and Fuller Seminary.

  • 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
  • 80 percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
  • 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 40% of pastors polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.

Now why I am posting this? To gloat? No, I truly feel sorry for anyone who is depressed or who feels locked into an occupation that they don’t enjoy. Life is too short to go through it like that. I post this because, in my opinion, it confirms my conclusion that evangelical Christianity is not true. It seems to me that if it were true, there would be a marked difference between Christians, especially Christian leaders, and the rest of society. If anything, it seems that evangelical pastors are in a worse condition than the average nonbeliever.


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