A Barna study reveals the fall in pastoral welfare and the importance of rest and the Sabbath.
Experts from Barna Group have just published the results of a comparative study on the well-being of pastors, and the role of rest and the Sabbath, in 2015 and 2022.
And this one has “significantly decreased”. Experts surveyed several hundred evangelical pastors about what could help them boost their overall well-being and continue their resilience. And it turns out that pastors who prioritize rest and the Sabbath "are more likely to fare better in their mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being than their peers who don't."
Asked about their emotions, pastors revealed that loneliness, isolation, mental and emotional exhaustion, and feelings of inadequacy in their role tend to increase.
About friendly relations, in 2022, 20% of pastors ranked below average on having real friends. They were only 10% in 2015. Conversely, if 34% of pastors surveyed in 2015 classified themselves as “excellent” when it came to having real friends, they are no longer 17% in 2022 .
As for physical health, in 2015, 24% of pastors rated it as “excellent”. In 2022, they are no longer 9%.
Sharon Hodde Miller, pastor and faculty member of Resilient Pastor, recalls the importance of the Sabbath.
“Sabbaticals are not about vacations, but about counter-training and all the ways our culture malforms us in ways that undermine the image of God and Christ in us. Practicing the Sabbath, taking sabbaticals, is a way of repelling this malformation.”