By Aaron Earls
Above all the other aspects of their jobs, most pastors say what they love most is preaching. Not surprisingly, that’s also what they say they’re best at.
In addition to pastors’ favorite part of their job, Barna also found how satisfied pastors were with their vocation, their specific church, and what was most frustrating for them.
Overall, 72 percent of senior pastors say they are very satisfied with being a pastor. Only 28 percent say they are less satisfied.
Pastors were more split on their satisfaction at their current church: 53 percent very satisfied, 47 percent less satisfied.
Most pastors, however, are in the ministry for the long haul. A 2015 Lifeway Research survey found that despite the challenges they face, less than 1 percent of pastors leave the ministry each year.
If forced to choose one aspect of their job, 66 percent of pastors say preaching and teaching is what they love most. That far outranks other aspects.
One in 10 (10 percent) say their favorite part is developing other leaders. Fewer say they like best discipling believers (8 percent), evangelizing (6 percent), pastoral care (5 percent), or organizing church events (2 percent).
Pastor’s enjoyment seems connected to their personal opinion of their own ability. As they rate themselves highest on what they enjoy the most.
More than half of pastors (57 percent) rate themselves as excellent at preaching and teaching—almost double the next closest aspect.
Around 3 in 10 say they’re excellent at connecting with the neighborhood (29 percent) and leading the organization (29 percent). A quarter (24 percent) give themselves top marks for counseling and pastoral care, while fewer say they’re excellent at mentoring young leaders (14 percent), evangelizing (10 percent), and mobilizing (10 percent).
The frustrating parts of their ministry often involve the people they’ve been called to serve.
More than a third (35 percent) say their biggest frustration is lack of commitment among laypeople, while more than a quarter (27 percent) say it’s low spiritual maturity among churchgoers.
Fewer point to financial or administrative duties (19 percent), church politics (18 percent), implementing change (16 percent), working with the denomination (10 percent), or relational difficulties (8 percent) as the most frustrating part of their job.
Some of those issues are what drive pastors from the ministry completely.
A 2015 Lifeway Research survey found the reasons pastors gave for why they left the ministry.
While 40 percent said they had a change in calling, 25 percent left because of a conflict in church and 19 percent due to burnout. Fewer pointed to personal finances (12 percent) and family issues (12 percent).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.