The Results of Our 2016 Pastor Survey

At ExPastors.com, we minister to, support, and resource a wide variety of pastors. Sometimes we get asked why we post leadership articles. We do this for two main reasons: 1. As you can see in the survey below, 73% of our audience are current pastors. 2. We believe if some key areas of leadership and pastoral health are addressed, we can help a pastor keep from becoming an ex-pastor (not always, but sometimes).

Getting an accurate account of what pastors have gone through or are currently going through was more important to us than physical demographics. So, with the goal of attaining accurate information being at the forefront of our research, we decided against including questions pertaining to age or gender or whether the position the pastor had served in was paid or volunteer.

We wished to concern ourselves with getting accurate information on issues ranging from burnout and finances, to work hours and the demands on families With this objective in mind, we also chose to make our survey confidential and allow the option to answer basic demographic questions, the only exception being the initial question of whether the person filling out the survey was or was not currently serving in the role of pastor.

The Survey

Of the following, which is most accurate:
I am a pastor (406 / 70%)
I am an ex-pastor (108 / 19%)
I’m in transition, but hope to be on a church staff in the near future (43 / 7%)
I stepped away from the pastorate, but am now serving as pastor again (20 / 3%)

At any time during your pastorate, have you doubted your call to ministry?
Yes (359 / 64%)
No (206 / 36%)

Would you consider yourself overworked?
Yes (360 / 64%)
No (202 / 36%)

At times, do you feel unable to meet the demands of the job?
Yes (485 / 86%)
No (80 / 14%)

Do you feel there are/were unrealistic demands or unwritten expectations of you and your family?
Yes (435 / 77%)
No (131 / 23%)

Have you ever considered leaving the ministry?
Yes (475 / 85%)
No (84 / 15%)

Have you ever been hurt or “burnt” by a church that you left or were asked to leave?
Yes (323 / 58%)
No (232 / 42%)

Do you fight depression?
No (340 / 61%)
Yes (217 / 39%)

Do you consider yourself lonely?
Yes (347 / 62%)
No (212 / 38%)

Do you wrestle with anxiety?

Yes (364 / 65%)
No (196 / 35%)

Do you take prescription drugs for things such as anxiety, depression, or mood disorders?

No (466 / 83%)
Yes (97 / 17%)

Would you consider yourself having experienced burnout?
Yes (398 / 71%)
No (166 / 29%)

At any point, have you sought out professional help due to ministry related struggles?

Yes (286 / 51%)
No (278 / 49%)

Have you or do you regularly see a counselor or therapist?

No (366 / 65%)
Yes (197 / 35%)

At any point, have you considered taking your own life?

No (402 / 71%)
Yes (163 / 29%)

Do you have a mentor?

No (311 / 56%)
Yes (248 / 44%)

Do you have anyone you consider a close friend or someone you can share your struggles or burdens with?
Yes (426 / 75%)
No (140 / 25%)

Have you or a family member experienced a conflict with a church member within the last month?
No (311 / 55%)
Yes (251 / 45%)

Does your spouse believe in what you do?

Yes (488 / 89%)
No (60 / 11%)

Does your spouse want you to quit your position in the church?

No (409 / 75%)
Yes (135 / 25%)

If you could provide for your family without working at a church, would you?

Yes (348 / 63%)
No (208 / 37%)

Would you consider the previous church you worked at (or presently work at) to be healthy?

No (327 / 58%)
Yes (236 / 42%)

How would you consider the staff is treated at your church (or at your previous church)?

Neutral feeling (188 / 33%)
Well taken care of (175 / 31%)
Not really taken care of well (126 / 22%)
Poorly mistreated (51 / 9%)
Our leaders go over the top (28 / 5%)

Would you consider your church (or previous church) to have a healthy staff culture?

No (289 / 52%)
Yes (271 / 48%)

Describe your senior pastor’s personality and temperate? (Check all that apply)

He is approachable (227 / 51%) 
He is good and gracious (188 / 43%)
He is authentic (172 / 39%)
He is a strong leader (155 / 35%)
He lacks encouragement (124 / 28%)
He is a weak leader (114 / 26%)
He creates a healthy team and workplace environment (103 / 23%)
He is proud and arrogant (71 / 16%)
He’s very intimidating (61 / 14%)
He is fake  (54 / 12%)
He’s the best boss I’ve ever worked for (37 / 8%)
He’s the worst boss I’ve ever worked for (36 / 8%)

If another church offered you a job, would you take it?

Maybe (308 / 55%)
No (161 / 29%)
Yes (87 / 16%)

How long have you been at your current (or previous) church?

Less than 5 years (213 / 38%)
Five years or more (151 / 27%)
Ten years or more (144 / 26%)
Less than 1 year (53 / 9%)

What is the size of your church?
40-200 (270 / 48%)
200-450 (85 / 15%)
400-800 (68 /12%)
Below 40 (59 /10%)
800-2000 (43 /8%)
2000+ (37 /7%)

Methodology

The ExPastors.com 2016 Pastor Survey was conducted online, between September 2016 and March 2017. We chose to host our survey on Typeform.com, an online-based survey, and form website trusted by clients such as Airbnb, The New York Times, Red Bull, Sony Music and Adobe, to name a few. As of January 2015, Typeform boasted a total form completion rate of 59%. Our survey garnered 275 completed responses out of 620 unique views, giving us a completion rate of 44%. One hundred sixty-eight of those responses were on PCs and laptops, while 107 were completed using a smartphone or tablet device. On average, our survey took 11 minutes and 17 seconds to complete.

Our survey garnered 577 completed responses out of 1273 unique views, giving us a completion rate of 45%. Five hundred and thirty-eight of those responses were on PCs and laptops, while 38 were completed using a smartphone or tablet device. On average, our survey took 6 minutes and 28 seconds to complete.

  • We must point out that this is not a true scientific research-based study. This is simply an online survey conducted with our audience at ExPastors.com.
POSTED ON April 3, 2017
  • Pingback: One Pastor Shares 4 Steps to Escaping Depression | ExPastors()

  • Julio Cachila

    Wow. I know it’s not a good thing to read about fellow pastors or ex-pastors being burned out, discouraged, overworked, and lonely while in ministry, but it does help to know that you’re not alone in what you’re feeling.

    Thank you for the survey, Expastors.com. I participated in it, and although I am not happy at the fact that many who participated aren’t in tip-top shape, I am encouraged to know that I’m not the only one feeling what I feel.

    To all the pastors or ex-pastors who feel down, let’s not give up. If you feel like you don’t have a mentor, the Lord Jesus Christ didn’t have any human mentor too. If you feel lonely, take refuge in the fact that Jesus faced much sorrow and loneliness for our sake. And if you feel like your church demands too much from you and your family, know that God will empower you to do what you have to do for His glory.

    Thank you for your honesty, fellow survey respondents. It gives me great pleasure to know that we can encourage one another. After all, we’re all in the same boat – God’s Kingdom.

    Thanks, Expastors.com. You gave us a platform to air what we carry inside.

    Soli Deo Gloria

  • Bible Reader

    maybe seeing being a pastor as having a job is the problem?
    take the position and then ask GOD to help keep you and family productive!

We started ExPastors.com in July 2012 to be an oasis of encouragement for pastors and church leaders who have or are going through a break-up with the church or have left a position of active ministry due to things such as: burnout, stress, frustration, fear, or moral failures. Equally, we wish to support, equip, and empower those looking to enter or are currently serving in ministry. We aim to educate current leadership by offering resources that provides a bridge between those currently serving and those previously serving in a pastoral or lay leadership capacity.