Hey, pastor or planter, what’s changed since 2006?

CCMBC pastoral trends survey 2015

In November 2006, Stephen Harper was less than a year into his first term as prime minister, Gaddafi was still Libya’s long-standing revolutionary leader, and 38 percent of surveyed pastors were planning to leave the Mennonite Brethren conference at the end of their term.

Reasons cited included the following:

• retirement – 17%

• employment in a different denomination – 4%

• leaving church ministry – 13%

• no desire ever to return – 4%

These insights and a whole lot more were gleaned from approximately 300 current and former pastors, in an extensive survey CCMBC’s leadership development team initiated on nationwide pastoral trends in 2005.

Here are a few more discoveries:

The top three employment positions from which people came to pastoral ministry were

• teaching – 17%

• construction, contracting and carpentry – 13%

• studying – 7%

New pastors tend toward risk-taking most in their first term (probably no surprise there!).

The top three factors that contribute to the retention of pastors are

• spousal support

• personal development

• spiritual direction

A few “red flags” popped up, as pastors acknowledged that they

• loved work more than domestic life – 4%

• felt strongly that their work was their life – 14%

• felt a need to be omni-competent – 12%

• were vulnerable to sexual temptation – 3%.

Of course, the difficulty with problematic trend lines and red-flag issues is that by the time they are recognizable, it seems too late to fix them. Yet, if we take a developmental approach, it’s never too late to learn, grow and change.

Even if we can’t always remedy things in ways that impact the present, we can make timely changes now that impact the future.

To that end, a new pastoral trends survey is underway. An independent researcher has been retained to ensure the objectivity of the findings.

It’s L2L’s hope that all MB pastors will participate in the survey. If you are a pastor and have not received an email with the survey link, please let us know (info@L2Lnet.org 604-853-6959) and we’ll remedy that problem.

Ron Toews, L2L director

To view a summary of the 2006 pastoral trends survey, see Who’s choosing (and sticking with) church ministry.

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