Research Reveals Why Pastors Home and Marriage Suffer

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A new Lifeway Research survey says that more than half of America’s pastors say they struggle to avoid being overworked and overcommitted.

The survey also shows one-fourth of pastors say they need to devote more time to their marriage and children. Other research has indicated that many pastors’ marriages collapse as a result of the backlash effects of ministry stress. Some of the most popular stressors for pastors are fatigue, exhaustion which often results from overworking, over-commitment, and poor church growth.

The survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors, released last week, found that 55 percent of pastors say they find it challenging to avoid being overworked and overcommitted, while 47 percent say it’s challenging to take time for hobbies or interests away from their job.

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The physical health of pastors is also an issue, with 59 percent saying it’s challenging to consistently exercise. Eating right (49 percent) and consistently resting (45 percent) also ranked high in the survey. Pastors were asked to select “all the aspects of self-care that you find challenging in your ministry as a pastor”.

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research says: “While most pastors are quick to say they have several challenges in caring for themselves, they are also quick to prioritize ministry needs ahead of their own. Among categories that need attention today, almost two-thirds of pastors put skills, people or ministry difficulties ahead of their own self-care. Constantly working from a physical deficit is not a sustainable formula for pastoral ministry”.

Not surprisingly, only 51 percent of pastors are effective at time management while only 43 percent of pastors balance life between home and work well.

29 percent of pastors take give enough time and care to children and only 26 percent give the needed attention to their marriages. About 77 percent of pastors hardly have time to care for their aging parents.

McConnell said: “Pastors were not being asked if these areas of personal life matter. They were asked to indicate those areas that need additional focus today. Nowhere is it more likely than in personal life, for a need to emerge for a pastor because they are giving attention elsewhere. There are only so many hours to split between work and home, and finding the right balance is important”.

Other researches indicate that pastoral work is one of the most unappreciated and undervalued jobs in the world.

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