The Company of Pastors exists to recreate the original Company of Pastors in our disconnected and digital age.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting much more about this, but here are some things to get you thinking:
Fight pastoral burnout
In 1989, the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development embarked on an 18-year study that revealed some rather frightening statistics about pastors.
Here is a sampling of the findings:
– 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
– 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
– 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
– 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. The unique demands placed upon the pastor simply cannot be adequately prepared for in a classroom.
– 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
– 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. The training that pastors must receive leaves them ill equipped to do anything else when they are driven from their church.
– 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
– 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
– 80% of spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.
– 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
– 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
– 1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church members are not willing to follow the leadership of the pastor.
– 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
– 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form. Only 10% of ministers will last long enough to retire as ministers.
– 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
– Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
– Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
One of the authors of the study wrote:
– Over 70% of pastors do not have anyone they would consider to be a friend, and hardly any pastors had any close friends. Ninety percent (90%) of pastors feel they were not adequately trained to cope with ministry coordination and the demands of the congregation. Seventy-five percent (75%) of pastors experience a significant crisis that they faced due to stress in the ministry (Fuller Institute, 1989-1992). We at the FASICLD retested that data by various means starting in 1998 and also retested the results in an internet survey form several times over the last eight years. We found it has slightly worsened. Most pastors now work up to and more than 60 hours a week. Hence, why the divorce rate among pastors is rising and pastor’s children rarely stay in the church or keep their faith. In both studies, over 40% of the pastors reported serious conflicts with their parishioners every month. This leaves pastors physically tired, spiritually weary, and even distant from God! Thus, they cannot properly minister or connect with their flock.
Those findings came out in 1998. Recent studies have shown that things aren’t better.
I think the research can be summarized into 2 main problems:
1. Intellectual stagnation
The Company of Pastors exists to help you fight both of those things.
The 3 primary ways we will seek to help you:
1. Content: our goal is to produce high quality, theologically sound and devotionally rich content to help you in your ministry.
– Resource Library: Each course we offer will have its specific resource page. Think of it like a digital bookshelf focused only on the person or the topic you are studying. And we will also have a resources library. My dream for the resource library is that it will be a treasure trove of great digital content that other Company members have found helpful.
– Blog: Our goal is to produce quality blog content twice a week that will connect, motivate, apply, or deepen the courses we offer; this will be the ideal entry point to The Company.
– Podcast: My dream is to offer a podcast that will focus specifically on the lives of pastors both past and present. Think of it like This American Life meets John Piper’s Swans Are Not Silent Series, with each episode alternating between the life of a great pastor in church history, and the life of an ordinary pastor today.
2. Courses: We will offer courses in the three primary competencies for a pastor: preaching, praying, pastoring.
Whatever else we may have to do, these three tasks are at the very heart of our calling. These are our disciplines. Under each category, we will offer two types of courses:
1. Skill Development
2. Self-Directed Apprenticeships
The courses are the heart and soul of what we do, and we will set up a page dedicated to each.
3. Community: At the very heart of the vision for this site is the community. You are not alone. We are in this together.