CNLP 125: David Kinnaman on the Clergy Crisis and State of Pastors Today

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How are pastors really doing? Why are fewer and fewer people going into ministry? What are the danger signs for pastors today for their soul, their family and their future?

Barna Group President David Kinnaman explains the findings behind one of the largest studies of Pastors in America ever conducted. Not everything is good, but there’s hope.

Welcome to Episode 125 of the podcast.

David on Episode 24

David on Episode 82

The Barna Group

State of the Pastors Report

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme

Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith 

unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why it Matters

David Kinnaman on Facebook

David Kinnaman on Twitter 

Jeff Brodie on Episode 110

Canadian Church Leaders Conference: Barrie, Ontario; June 8th – 10th

ReThink Leadership: Atlanta, Georgia; April 26th – 28th

TrainedUp Leadership

The Canadian Church Leaders Podcast

3 Insights from This Episode

David Kinnaman and The Barna Group took on a massive, 3 year, in-depth research project called The State of Pastors. David is on the show to go over some of the key findings from the report. Through the data, there’s an overarching theme: Resilience. Resilience in self-leadership, in church leadership and in cultural leadership.

1. Self-Leadership

Resilience in self-leadership is about who you are and who you’re becoming as a leader.

How are you doing in your family? Relationships? Finances? Self-leadership is being a resilient person who keeps moving forward in the face of adversity. The data in The State of Pastors found that, on average, most Pastors have happy home lives and healthy marriages. Which is great news. However, the study also found that 1/3 of Pastors were at moderate to high risk of total burnout and about 60% of Pastors were at moderate risk for spiritual burnout.

2. Church Leadership

Resilience in church leadership is the embracing teams and continually remembering that we can’t do Gospel-centered ministry alone.

The State of Pastors found that the Pastors who feel more satisfied in their work are the ones who think of themselves as leaders instead of managers and as entrepreneurs instead of administrators. This allows them to experience intentionality in their work. This also helps explain why only 10% of Pastors prefer developing other leaders over preaching and teaching.

Another interesting piece of data from the report was that the average age of Pastors is rising. 25 years ago, the average Senior Pastor was in their mid-40s, today they’re in the mid-50s. This data brings up some questions the church community needs to think about: Why aren’t younger people joining ministry? Why are people joining ministry at an older age? Where is an older pastor’s seat at the table?

No matter where your church is, growing or dying—Jesus loves you, and that will never change. God shapes us more through failure than he does through success.

3. Cultural Leadership 

Resilience in a church of cultural complexity is knowing that Jesus told us that the gates of hell won’t prevail against us. 

We’re in a culture of distraction. We’re also in a time of deep cultural complexity. But what if the Gospel gets stronger when culture becomes more difficult for Christians?

Remember this: The body of Christ needs each other. We need younger leaders, older leaders, racially-diverse leaders and leaders of difference socioeconomic statuses. We’re all the same in Christ.

Quotes from This Episode

CNLP 125: David Kinnaman on the Clergy Crisis and State of Pastors Today Click To Tweet CNLP 125: David Kinnaman on the Clergy Crisis and State of Pastors Today Click To Tweet CNLP 125: David Kinnaman on the Clergy Crisis and State of Pastors Today Click To Tweet CNLP 125: David Kinnaman on the Clergy Crisis and State of Pastors Today Click To Tweet CNLP 125: David Kinnaman on the Clergy Crisis and State of Pastors Today Click To Tweet

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Next Episode: Mike Bonem

Not all of us are senior leaders. So what happens when that’s you? Do you have to be the #1 leader to make an impact. Mike Bonem explains how to lead up to your senior leader, and discussed the strategies and principles that help second chair leaders thrive

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 126.

Lead With Confidence and Clarity. Grow Your Church.

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  • You're overstaffed (or missing a key role) and can't find the right person to fill the role.
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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.