52 Percent of Pastors Are ‘Very Satisfied’ with Their Jobs, Barna Survey Shows

According to a new survey by Barna Group, about 52 percent of pastors are “very satisfied” with their jobs, which shows a decline in pastoral satisfaction since 2015 (72 percent).

As reported by Church Leaders, the study also found a decrease in pastoral confidence in their calling, including their sense of well-being.

In 2022, 35 percent of pastors surveyed felt more confident in their calling since first starting out in ministry, a decline from 66 percent in 2015. In that same survey, 38 percent of pastors said they “feel very satisfied with their ministry at their current church,” which was a drop from 53 percent in 2015.

Even with the challenges brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, many pastors still felt discouraged, especially young pastors.

Meanwhile, just 35 percent of pastors under the age of 45 are “very satisfied” with their job, while 66 percent say they had a period of doubt in their pastoral calling.

Overall, there has been a continued decline since 2020. For instance, 52 percent of pastors in 2022 said they were “very satisfied” with their job, a decrease from 67 percent in 2020. Additionally, 38 percent of pastors in 2022 were satisfied with their ministry at their church, a decline from 47 percent in 2020.

“Pastors have been frontline workers of a sort the last three years, and the toll of stress, isolation, resentment and division continues to impact pastors negatively,” David Kinnaman, CEO of Barna Group, said in a statement. “It is alarming that the number of pastors experiencing satisfaction in their work continues to decline.”

“This drop in vocational satisfaction may cause significant problems for churches in the future,” Kinnaman added. “This research underscores the need for major interventions to support and sustain pastors in their work.”

The study was done on behalf of the Barna’s Resilient Pastor initiative, which addresses burnout, loneliness, and health amongst pastors.

“While the current data, as well as past research, highlights a drastic decrease in pastoral satisfaction and security, it also offers rays of hope that we’re excited to help you build on,” Barna explains on their website.

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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.