Category Archives: Church of Christ

How Healthy Are Ministers? I Ran the Numbers.

As a minister it is important to me to understand the potential ramifications of how ministry affects my health and the health of my family. I ran the numbers on this in 2017 and want to share a few significant findings with you here.

I assessed health in multiple areas and then ran correlations and analysis of variance to understand how things were connected. Here is some of what I found. I am posting a video at the end that gives far more of the findings with data graphics so you can digest it all more easily

The sample consisted of 119 ministers in Churches of Christ. Almost all were men (97%), preachers (80%) who had been in ministry on average 18.3 years in three congregations.

Here are the highlights by area:

Physical health
– 58% were Neutral to Very unsatisfied with their health
– 58% were Neutral to Very unsatisfied with their diet

Mental health
– 82% were Satisfied to Very Satisfied (good news!)
– 52% expressed significant anxiety as a result of ministry. I assume that number may be typical of any profession.
– 34% expressed significant levels of depression related to ministry
– Stress on a scale from 0-100 average was 46 and that stress correlated with several important things – health satisfaction, hours/week in ministry, relationship with elders, and even satisfaction with relationship with God.

Family/Relational
– 88% Satisfied to Very Satisfied with their marriage (good news!)
– 81% Connected to Very connected with their spouse (good news!)
– 53% reported ministry having a positive impact on their spouse and only 21% negative (that surprised me)
– 81% were Satisfied to Very satisfied with their connection with their kids (more good news)
– 65% said ministry has had a positive effect on their kids (often it is assumed this would not be the case). Neutral was 24% leaving only 11% of the ministers saying ministry has had a negative impact on their kids. Big surprise! More good news!
– How ministry has affected your spouse was correlated with relationship with elders (see video for more correlations)

Ministerial health
– 45.5 hours/week of ministry work
– This was a shocker for me…next employment will be: 56% congregational ministry, 16% noncongregational employment, 10% retirement, 18% other (many expressed uncertainty). 56% being certain their next employment will be congregational is concerning.
– 63% said they have considered leaving ministry for good

I then split the sample into two groups: those who have and those who haven’t considered leaving ministry and then ran an ANOVA to find if those groups had any statistical differences (at the 0.05 level). Here is where they differed:
– Satisfaction with mental health
– Marital satisfaction missed significance by .001 (bigger sample may have seen this differ)
– Spiritual connection with your spouse
– How ministry has affected your spouse
– How ministry has affected your kids
– Hours in personal study – those who consider leaving spend less time in personal Bible study (2.97 hours/week for those who think about leaving vs 4.85 hours for those who haven’t)
– Hopeful about the future – those who have considered leaving are less hopeful
– Sleep quality and hours/night of sleep

Spiritual health
– 91% said they have someone to confide in and 85% said they have people they can confess to

Ran another ANOVA on the difference between those who do and don’t have someone to confess to and found the following. Those who don’t have someone to confess to:
– Feel less balanced in ministry
– Spend less time in study
– Report lower satisfaction in their relationship with God
– Are less hopeful about the future

Who are they turning to for support?
– 33% – minister outside the congregation
– 29% – friend outside the congregation
– 18% friend inside the congregation
– 14% elder

Satisfaction with their relationship with God:
– Very satisfied – 11%
– Satisfied – 65%
– Neutral – 13%
– Unsatisfied – 11%

This satisfaction correlates with stress, time in personal study (more time higher satisfaction), ministry balance, hope for the future – see video for more.

More good news – 89% reported being hopeful or very hopeful about the future!

There is a lot more in the study that you can get through the video below. All in all there are some really healthy things going on and then a few glaring weak spots we need to address. Healthy things include family life. Unhealthy things include stress, ministry longevity threats, and elder connection. Let me know what you think in the comments!


Why Are We In Decline? What Appears to Be a Math Problem is Actually a Spiritual Problem

Imagine the AAA Widget Company. AAA Widget was started 80 years ago by an energetic team of entrepreneurs. They had a vision and they executed the vision for 50 years with excellence. The problem today is that they haven’t added a new customer in the last 30 years. The only way to add customers isContinue Reading

Hard and Hopeful Words About Our Future in Churches of Christ

Decline. It’s the word of the day. Most of our congregations are in decline. The projections are that the decline will get faster over time. But that isn’t a foregone conclusion. God can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. With God, all things are possible. It seems to me that it does help ifContinue Reading

Announcing My New Podcast!

Hey everyone! Big news on the blog today. A few weeks ago I launched a new podcast that I thought you might really enjoy. Similar to this site we will be doing a lot of informing, equipping and discussing things about church, faith, ministry, discipleship, and so much more. I would be honored if youContinue Reading

What We Look For When We Read the Bible Influences What We Find

I was once in a discussion about women passing communion on Sunday morning. One brother’s “gotcha” verse (that only men can serve the Supper/pass trays) was Acts 6:1-4, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews[a among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked inContinue Reading

Anxiety is Far Too Common in Ministry. Here is Why and What Can be Done About it

Over half of ministers report suffering from significant anxiety as a result of their ministry. Churches are anxious places. They are anxious places because we are supposed to get everything right and to do something not how it is always done or said creates uncomfortable questions and anxiety that is then, often, transferred to leadershipContinue Reading

Preserving Our Good DNA in Churches of Christ & Six Adjustments For Revival

Are we prime for revival or are we hopelessly stuck in the past? I don’t think God is done with us yet. Even though we are seeing decline pretty much across the board, I am hopeful that God is still going to use Churches of Christ in some meaningful and powerful ways. Not all DNAContinue Reading

Churches of Christ Need an Aerosmith/Run DMC “Walk This Way” Moment

The iconic “Walk This Way” music video is a parable for a conversation that must go mainstream and I am determined to make that happen. We have to start chipping away at the wall and poking our heads through to hear what is being said on the other side. On one side – mainstream, programmaticContinue Reading

Here is Why Churches of Christ Should be Leading the Way in Disciple Making Movements

I grew up with a real affinity for scripture. I heard over and over again that the Bible is the inspired word of God. I heard it is our example. Even our pattern. I heard it informs our practice and doctrine. Flowing out of all of that was the idea that we were restoring theContinue Reading

What Kind of Worship Pleases God? Our Usual Answer Will Not Suffice

It was 2011. I received my first invitation to speak at the Pepperdine Bible lectures from Jerry Rushford. Jerry had been at the Spiritual Growth Workshop that year in Orlando and thought some of the things that were said there needed to be said at the Pepperdine Lectures. Along with that I was invited toContinue Reading

Follow

Follow this blog

Email address