By Aaron Earls
Lifeway News Office
According to a study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research, 82 percent of U.S. Protestant pastors say they feel supported by other local pastors in their area, with 44 percent strongly agreeing. Few (14 percent) disagree, while 4 percent aren’t sure.
“Nobody can identify with a pastor like another pastor. That’s why relationships between pastors are so vital,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “It’s one thing to be aware and know the names of other pastors who are sharing the same gospel message in your community. It’s another to invest in supporting and encouraging each other.”
Large church pastors, those with weekly worship service attendance of more than 250, are the most likely to say they feel supported by other local pastors (89 percent).
In the Northeast, where there are traditionally fewer Protestant churches, pastors are less likely to agree they feel supported by other pastors (75 percent) than pastors in the Midwest (84 percent).
Restorationist movement pastors (68 percent) are less likely to feel local pastor support than Lutheran (88 percent), Pentecostal (87 percent), Baptist (83 percent), or Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (83 percent). A Lifeway Research study on denominations found Restorationist movement pastors are also the least likely to say they or their congregation considers it vital to be part of a denomination or denomination-like group, while Lutheran pastors are the most likely to see such denominational connections as important.
A 2015 Lifeway Research study on pastors leaving the ministry found about 1 percent leave the pastorate prior to retirement each year, but more than 1 in 3 (35 percent) agree they feel isolated as a pastor. [Read more…]