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51% of Pastors are Considering Quitting Right Now!

If you are a pastor-leader right now, this statistic probably comes as no surprise. You probably know people who have thought about quitting. Maybe you have thought about quitting.

And if you’re a congregation leader and not a pastor, this may not apply to you. If, however, you have a pastor in your congregation, then you’ll want to keep reading and consider how you can help.

According to Barna’s research, 51% of mainline pastors are thinking about quitting in this post-COVID…still COVID…world. And the numbers are even higher for pastors under the age of 45. “There’s been a dramatic increase!” 

One leader observed: “Last year, people felt displaced, inconvenienced, disagreeable, but there was some tolerance. Now, it seems like people are just angry. Everything is politicized. Grace does not abound.” 

Barna underscores:

  • 18 months of COVID
  • Intense congregational divisions
  • Financial strain
Research from Barna.

“Pastors are coming to me. They’re not interested in a Call to another church. It’s quitting. They want to talk about quitting.”

Regional Denominational President

So, what to do?

  1. Join us in a candid/interactive conversation with Pastor Paul and Beth Schult next month on January 19 at 10 AM, as they discuss staring into those desperate feelings of quitting and their journey back. The limited registration begins next week.
  2. Don’t be alone and isolated. It’s a bad plan. As easy as that sounds, when you’re isolated it’s difficult to get UN-isolated!
  3. Take advantage of the free lodging offered by the Martins and the Biblers. There are plenty of people in the PLI family that are “for you” and know that you’re important. 
  4. Part of the path forward is to recognize that it is both important and urgent that we invest in the people of God becoming capable and confident partners in the Kingdom. Multipli is offering a 9-month, fully online investment in people who know they should do something/want to do something/don’t know how to do something and walking with them to become fearless impact makers. The sooner you start this journey, the sooner you’ll see hope.
  5. Along those lines, you can also invest in the people of God becoming fearless impact makers by making a founding gift to Multipli that will be matched dollar for dollar.
  6. Check out some of our partners that can offer specialized help for sabbaticals, counseling, or specialized assistance (Grace Place or Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat).
  7. Three years ago we did a series of blogs on flourishing in ministry rather than being depleted by ministry, based on the research of Matt Bloom at Notre Dame. Each of the next few weeks we will link to one of those blogs that will lend some practical counsel and reflection. Take a look at the first post, Are you Flourishing?
  8. Let’s be honest. Some of what’s happening here is the collapse of the Christian church in the U.S. as we have known it. We’re all experiencing the pain of some of this larger trend. It might be valuable to not only pass this blog along to your leadership board or team but to also download “The Church of 2030” (download the epub or a PDF) written a couple of years ago and see what’s worth understanding or acting upon.

So, what do you think? What helpful words do you have to share here?

And… before you go, would you make that year-end gift? Thanks.

5 Responses

  1. Jim Driskell says:

    Just feel like I have a target on my back, that everyone has a free shot. Few are here to be positive, pro-active, just here to take out their angst on what they perceive to be an easy target.

  2. Jock, thanks for this timely article! And for sharing information about the Ministry Sabbatical Resource Center. I would always be ready to talk with any pastors who might be having these feelings. I coach pastors also apart from the sabbatical planning. During the past two years we have had much less activity regarding ministry sabbaticals but I think the need is great in view of what pastors and congregations have been through. If congregations would simply formulate a sabbatical plan and each year put some money into a sabbatical fund it would be a giant step forward. Thanks again and have a blessed Christmas. Tim Fangmeier

    • Gail & Jock Ficken says:

      Tim. You guys have been way ahead of the game in recognizing the need and helping leaders make plans. Thanks for your vision and all that you do.

  3. In a lot of ways, they feel stuck, which just adds on to the pressure and the burnout.

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