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What can help pastors—and church staff in general—strengthen their overall well-being and pursue resilience in their role as faith leaders? Those who prioritize rest and Sabbath are more likely to fare better in their mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

“Sabbath is unplugging for 24 hours, and doing that at regular intervals. [It’s] for more than just hearing the voice of God. Sabbath is for pleasure, delight and deep replenishment...” Ruth Haley Barton (from “How Rest & Sabbath Can Strengthen Pastoral Well-Being”)    JUNE 15, 2023

  • 46 percent of pastors under the age of 45 say they are considering quitting full-time ministry 

  • One in Three Pastors Is Considered “Healthy” in Terms of Well-Being that means 2 out of three are considered “Unhealthy!”

  • 2021 data shows that many pastors are not faring well in multiple categories of well-being, including spiritual, physical, emotional, vocational and financial.

  • pastors who have considered quitting full-time ministry are more likely to agree they feel like their own spiritual formation has taken a back seat to pastoral duties (24% vs. 8% of those who haven’t considered quitting strongly agree). They are also more likely to say they often feel depressed (13% vs. 2% strongly agree), and just one in 10 agrees they prioritize their self-care as a pastor (10% vs. 18% strongly agree).

“We started seeing early warning signs of burnout among pastors before COVID,” says David Kinnaman, President of Barna Group. “with initial warning bells sounding in Barna’s The State of Pastors study in 2017. Now, after 18 months of the pandemic, along with intense congregational divisions and financial strain, an alarming percentage of pastors is experiencing significant burnout, driving them to seriously consider leaving ministry.

Between the stressful situations that cause pastors to consider leaving ministry and their struggles to prioritize self-care and spiritual formation, pastors who are burning out and considering quitting full-time ministry are in need of encouragement, rest and refreshment. (March 2022 survey)

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.



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