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Jared Wilson, above with his family, elevated the issue of suicide among pastors after he took his own life.

Majority of pastors feel lonely and isolated at times, Barna study finds

Two-thirds of pastors felt lonely or isolated at times last year, a new survey by the Barna Group found. That number is up significantly from 42 percent in 2015. At the same time, only 49 percent said they feel well supported by people close to them, and just 35 percent get monthly spiritual support from a network of peers or a mentor.

“These relationships do not flourish by accident,” said Dr. Glenn Packiam, a pastor and senior fellow at the Barna Group. “They require attention and intentionality. Life is too full of the demands of ministry, the chaos of kids’ activities and the many unpredictable events for us to just hope that meaningful connection will just happen.”

Pastors not only are facing loneliness but also are feeling burned out. According to Lifeway Research’s 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors study, 75 percent of pastors say they are extremely stressed, and 90 percent report they work between 55 and 75 hours each week.

The mental health crisis is also leading some to suicide.

Pastor Joshua Smith of Light Elk Grove Church in Elk Grove, Calif., recently told CBN’s “Prayer Link” it is important for pastors to recharge.

“We need to be wise with God’s calling on our life, steward it and make sure it doesn’t crush us,” he said. “We know God’s burden is light, but we also need to pray for a spirit of wisdom so we can delegate some of those tasks that God has not called us to.”

In his book “The Resilient Pastor,” Packiam lets church leaders know they are not alone and that it is OK to ask for help.

“Pastors who are bucking the trend toward burnout tend to portray a strong connection with others around them, a flourishing connection with God and a sense of optimism about the future of the church,” he said. “They are energized by their jobs, feel well supported by the people in their lives and are generally satisfied with their mental, emotional and spiritual health.

It is possible to last, to be faithful, to be resilient — not by might, not by power, but by the same Holy Spirit who sustained the church throughout the centuries.”


–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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