How can we care for our pastors?

Hi everyone,

Barna released a troubling new study on the state of pastors in America:

I don’t know how applicable these findings are outside of the US, but I imagine the pandemic has created challenges for pastors in many countries.

A few significant quotes:

One of the more alarming findings is that 46 percent of pastors under the age of 45 say they are considering quitting full-time ministry, compared to 34 percent of pastors 45 and older.

Barna defined “healthy” pastors as those who score themselves either “excellent” or “good” on all six of these six well-being categories. Currently, only 35 percent of America’s pastors fall into the healthy category.

David Kinnaman, the President of the Barna Group, states:

This is a growing crisis for church leaders in America. Now is the time for the Christian community to come alongside their pastors to pray and support them so they can continue to lead in healthy ways. Pastors, too, need to proactively guard their health and well-being, taking a holistic assessment of how they are doing.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some ways that you support your pastor(s)?

  2. What are some ways that your church supports your pastor(s)?

  3. What are some ways that we discourage pastors?

  4. If you’re a pastor, what advice would you have on how congregations can love their pastor?

Here are a few starter ideas from my experience. For one, I try to send the pastor who preaches each week a brief, encouraging note. In my message, I offer specific details about how their message encouraged me. Another habit is to pause to pray for my pastors when they come to mind. To mention one more: when a pastor takes vacation, I celebrate their decision and let them know how excited I am that they are going to have a time of rest.