Compilation copyright by Competency Inc.©
Appendix 1 : Data Collected From Clergy Stress Surveys
Numerous surveys from Canadian and international sources illustrate the horrific and detrimental nature that mismanaged stress has upon clergy:
THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA, The Anglican Church of Canada, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, The Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada: “Clergy Well-Being: Seeking Wholeness with Integrity” (The Betty Ryckman Trust 2003)
60 percent indicated that social evenings with friends usually involved ‘church talk’ and some 55 percent indicated that sometimes they felt very lonely.
70 percent moderately or strongly disagreed with the statement, “I feel fulfilled in ministry.”
67 percent agreed to strongly agreed with the statement, “I sometimes project my job frustration on the family.”
60 percent who indicated that they had at some time considered leaving ministry while 33 percent had considered leaving their denomination.
16 percent indicated depression. This is double the Health Canada findings which states that approximately 8 percent of Canadian adults will experience major depression in their lives
77 percent strongly agreed with the statement, “I feel more like a CEO than a pastor.”
83 percent agreed with the statement, “My church wants a CEO rather than a pastor.”
91 percent agreed with the statement, “Being ‘minister’ is more like a job than a calling.”
78 percent strongly agreed with the statement, “I feel my position as a minister demands perfection.”
Few (4 percent) went to denomination staff for support in a crisis.
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA (ELCA) 2006
71 percent of the participants have risk factors because of poor nutrition;
69 percent are overweight;
64 percent are at risk for the consequences of high blood pressure;
63 percent indicate that they have poor emotional health;
35 percent are at risk for the consequences of lack of physical exercise; and
13 percent indicate they take medication for depression.
insurance claims are three times higher than average professions
Health care costs may affect the church's mission
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST (UCC) (2001). “A Devastating Study on Clergy Morale”
27 percent of congregations from every denomination and faith community have experienced a conflict within the last two years that led some people to leave the congregations.
70 percent of the pastors fight depression on a regular basis
70 percent of pastors do not have a close friend
1 in 5 pastors are in the advanced stage of burnout.
50 percent of pastors surveyed are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but they have no other way to make a living
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.) (2004)“Committee on Preparation for Ministry; Charlotte Presbytery. The Looming Pastor Shortage.”
“Dropout rate” of pastors during the first five years of ministry has increased four fold in the last 30 years “Report on Clergy Recruitment and Retention to the 216th General Assembly (2004) of the Presbyterian Church.” The Board of Pension of the PC (U.S.A.). 2004.
Stress—while ‘stress’ is experienced in many professions, studies have identified particular situations that specifically impact pastors’ feelings about their work. The leading ‘stresses’ are:
Inadequate skills in managing what are perceived to be unrealistic expectations of the congregation.
Unrealistic expectations of pastors entering a new call, especially their first call.
Feeling lonely or isolated
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN TRADITION: Fr. George Morelli states:
“Orthodox clergy face the same chronic stress events as the general population. In addition they have the events common to a hierarchal church: the episcopacy (from above) and a parish council (from below) both often presuming they have control over the priest.”
CLERGY STATISTICS FROM EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SOURCES
80 percent of pastors believe the pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families (Life Enrichment Ministries - 1998)
33 percent of pastors have no established means for resolving conflict. (Barna Group - 2002)
80 percent of pastors and 84 percent of their spouses are discouraged or are dealing with depression. (Dobson - 1998)
The Southern Baptist Convention paid out $64 million in stress related claims, second in dollar amounts only to maternity benefits (Current Thoughts and Trends Magazine 1992)
CLERGY STATISTICS FROM FULLER (1991)
90 percent of pastors work more than 46 hours a week
33 percent of pastors believed ministry was a hazard to their family
75 percent of pastors reported a significant stress related crisis at least once in their ministry
50 percent of pastors felt themselves unable to meet the needs of the job
90 percent felt inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
70 percent say they have a lower self esteem now compared to when they started in ministry
40 percent reported serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month
37 percent confessed to having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church
70 percent do not have someone they consider a close friend
CHURCH OF ENGLAND (2006) Report on Sick-Leave by Type
Many clergy now work 70 to 80 hours a week, routinely putting their ministry ahead of their family or their own health.
Clergy usually make contact with a specific problem, which is often accompanied by stress, but while some degree of stress may be normal, it is when stress continues for prolonged periods, that they find themselves unable to cope.
Clergy stress is often not one thing; it is a culmination of factors — the difficult person or situation may be just the final straw.
One of the hardest things for a parish priest is that when they fall ill, for whatever reason, it can be very hard to be supported by those you know well — your congregation. They are told to leave you alone, or cannot cope with a leader no longer being able to lead. For anyone else, a church can be a great source of comfort at this time.”
Compilation copyright by Competency Inc.©