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

Well-being of pastors has dropped in several key areas since 2015, study finds

The well-being of pastors in several key areas has significantly declined since 2015, a new report from Barna Research found.

  • When it comes to having true friends, 20 percent of pastors in 2022 ranked themselves as below average, compared to 10 percent who did so in 2015. Another 7 percent ranked themselves as poor when it comes to having friends in 2022, compared to just 2 percent in 2015. Although 34 percent of pastors ranked themselves as excellent when it comes to having true friends in 2015, that share dropped to 17 percent in 2022
  • Pastors also indicated that their physical health suffered significantly between 2015 and 2022. In 2015, only 7 percent of pastors ranked their physical well-being as either below average or poor. Seven years later in 2022, that number more than tripled to 22 percent, with 18 percent reporting their condition as below average. Only 9 percent of pastors reported their physical health as excellent in 2022, compared to 24 percent who did so in 2015.
  • The share of pastors who reported their mental and emotional health as below average increased from 3 percent in 2015 to 10 percent in 2022. The share who reported that their mental and emotional health was excellent also fell from 39 percent in 2015 to just 11 percent in 2022.

A previous report from Barna found that more pastors had considered quitting their jobs in 2022 compared to a year earlier, citing stress and loneliness. More than half of pastors, 56 percent, who considered quitting full-time ministry said, “the immense stress of the job” was a huge factor behind their thinking. Beyond these general stressors, two in five pastors reported that “I feel lonely and isolated,” while another 38 percent said current political divisions made them think about calling it quits at the pulpit.

READ: Stresses pastors face

Glenn Packiam, lead pastor of Rockharbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif., urged churches to prioritize sabbaticals for their leaders as preventive health care.

“I think one of the best things you can do if you’re introducing sabbaticals to your church is to make it really clear who gets a sabbatical, how frequently and for how long,” he said. “In the past at my church, a sabbatical was either a prelude to someone’s exit or a punishment for something that a person had done. And it’s not meant to be any of that. This is preventive health care, if you will.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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