- “80% of pastors say that ministry has negatively affected their family.”
- “70% say they do not have a close personal friend.”
- “37% say they have been involved inappropriately with someone in their church.”
- “70% say they have a lower self esteem than when they started in ministry.”
Let’s state up front that these numbers are not necessarily accurate. I eventually tracked some of the numbers to a 1984 study by Dr. Archibald D. Hart and Ph.D. student Rick Blackmon from Fuller Seminary. Before we go spreading these stats across the web, it’s important to know that they could be more than 20 years old—which brings their reliability into question.
But despite questions about their reliability, these and other statistics point to the problems the modern pastor faces. Leading a broken, stumbling body like the church is no picnic, and our pastors, priests and rectors deserve a lot of credit. They could also use a lot of help.
What have you done to help your pastor?
Consider pitching in:
- Regularly pray for pastors and their needs.
- If your pastor’s family includes kids, offer to baby sit so they can enjoy a night out.
- Volunteer your talents to help not just the church, but your pastor as well. Maybe that’s overseeing your church’s marketing efforts so the pastor doesn’t have to, or maybe it’s offering to fix the brakes on your pastor’s car.
- Take your pastor out to lunch.
- When the church asks for volunteers—pitch in. Too often volunteer spots go unfilled and the overburdened pastor picks up the slack, leading to burnout.
- Compliments: Everyone likes ‘em, even pastors. If you enjoyed the sermon, drop your pastor an e-mail. Even a small pat on the back can mean a lot.
- Complain in private. If you do have a beef with your pastor, take it up in private. There’s nothing worse than gossiping behind their back.
And there’s plenty more you can do to support your pastor. Just use your imagination.
What does all this have to do with church marketing? While it’s not necessarily marketing in a promotional sense, it does help out your pastor, which enables them to do a better job, which in a broad sense is good for your church. In the end it’s good marketing.
(Note: The stats in question have appeared in various publications in various forms throughout the years. While I was not able to track down the original source material, I did hear from Dr. Archibald D. Hart who gave me some background on his 1984 study and mentioned some of the various publications that quoted his study. I’m not looking to prove or disprove the statistics, just to point out that they could be over 20 years old and of questionable reliability.)