Ran across a new set of stats about pastor health in the last few weeks. Nothing surprising, just more confirmation of the same story. A Cheryl Shireman reports on data from over a thousand pastors who attended 2 conferences. Some of her stats…
- 57% of pastors would leave if they had a better place to go–including secular work
- 77% report not having a good marriage
- 72% felt they were unqualified or poorly trained by seminaries to lead the church or counsel others
- Only 38% report personal devotions outside of sermon prep
- 38% are divorced or going through one
- 30% admitted a sexual encounter with a parishioner
Let’s assume that most pastors enter the ministry fit (false assumption!) for the trials and tribulations and spiritually mature. What can a church do to maintain that pastor’s health (and his/her family as well)? We surely don’t give them combat pay. While most get vacation and health benefits, few report getting ongoing discipleship or training beyond the annual preaching conference.
Here’s an idea I’ve surfaced here before. What if pastors were required to have a mentor? What if churches provided $1000 a year for use in preventative counseling or confidential spiritual direction? What if pastors had to complete a confidential “check-up” each year? On this last item, I suspect that I could provide an assessment (cheap, easy to complete questionnaires for pastor and spouse plus 3 hours of follow-up interview and goal setting) for under $400.
If these recommendations came before your congregation, what would the reaction be? Would there be resistance? Worry about expenses? Openness? I’m curious…