Why Do Pastors Take New Ministry Jobs?
Research found the number one reason Protestant pastors leave their church is not because of God's calling, but because they wanted to live or minister in a different community, according to a recent study featured in the October issue of Facts and Trends.
Ron Sellers, president of Ellison Research, noted that the results show that pastoring is much like any other job.
"People who work in real estate, manufacturing, marketing research, and other careers change jobs in order to move to a city they prefer, get a promotion, start a new company, find better working conditions, and make more money, among other reasons," Sellers stated. "This study shows ministers take new jobs mostly for these same reasons."
The second most listed reason was because of promotion, according to the study conducted by Ellison Research.
Twenty percent changed locations due to a promotion, and eleven percent moved for better pay and/or benefits, as contrasted with the 12 percent who said they felt God's calling to switch churches.
Ten percent were fired or asked to leave, and the remaining 18 percent had other reasons, such as family's needs, job frustration, church conflict, or seeking change.
The results of the study varied by denomination, according to Ellison. Methodists were usually transferred by the denomination (80 percent). Presbyterians and Lutherans wanted to live and work in a different region or type of community more than any other reason. Southern Baptists felt God's calling twice more than average, but their most common reason was also a desire to minister in a different region or type of community. Pentecostal and charismatic clergy's top reason for leaving was to plant new churches.
The research also found that the ministers of larger churches tended to have a longer tenure than small churches.
The average tenure was 19 years, but many pastors believed they needed longer tenures. Sellers also advised that denominations must be concerned with the short tenure length.
"Three out of four pastors who get their jobs assigned by their denomination believe they don't have enough time at each church - that's something these denominations need to consider as they move people around," he said.