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2017 Surprising Church Stats

"We must replace perceptions for an accurate understanding"


  • 1 in 3 young adults in their 20’s attend church in a typical week.

  • Roughly 62% of all unchurched adults were formerly churched.

  • Approximately half of all American churches did not add a single new person through conversion growth last year!

  • More than 80% of current growth registered by Protestant churches is biological (new babies) or transfer growth (church hopping).

  • 94% of churches either were not growing or were losing ground in the communities they serve.

  • 50,000 churches closed by 2010 (about 1 in every 8).* Thom Rainer research team.

“We must replace some entrenched perceptions about culture in order to become missionaries to our neighborhoods. An accurate understanding of grace will wreck the tidy categories we’ve assigned people and allow us to open our arms wide.”

- Jen Hatmaker ‘Interrupted’


  • 72% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.

  • 84% of pastors feel they are on call 24/7.

  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor's children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.

  • 65% of pastors feel their family lives in a "glass house" and fear they are not good enough to meet expectations.

  • 78% of pastors report having their vacation and personal time interrupted with ministry duties or expectations.

  • 65% of pastors feel they have not taken enough vacation time with their family over the last 5 years.

  • 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves.

  • 95% of pastors report not praying daily or regularly with their spouse.

  • 50% of pastors state they spend 1 hour in prayer each day.

  • 90% of pastors report the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.

  • 53% of pastors report that the seminary did not prepare them for the ministry.

  • 85% of pastors report the use of the internet and other resources have improved their study time compared to when they first started their ministry.

  • 45% of pastors spend 10-15 hours a week on sermon preparation.

  • 57% of pastors believe they do not receive a livable wage.

  • 57% of pastors being unable to pay their bills.

  • 53% of pastors are concerned about their future family financial security.

  • 75% of pastors report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.

  • 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses have felt unqualified and discouraged as role of pastors at least one or more times in their ministry.

  • 52% of pastors feel overworked and cannot meet their church's unrealistic expectations.

  • 54% of pastors find the role of a pastor overwhelming.

  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once in the last year.

  • 80% of pastors expect conflict within their church.

  • 75% of pastors report spending 4-5 hours a week in needless meetings.

  • 35% of pastors battle depression or fear of inadequacy.

  • 26% of pastors report being over fatigued.

  • 28% of pastors report they are spiritually undernourished.

  • Over 50% of pastors state the biggest challenge is to recruit volunteers and encourage their members to change (living closer to God's Word).

  • 70% of pastors report they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.

  • 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider to be a close friend.

  • 27% of pastors report not having anyone to turn to for help in a crisis situation.

  • 81% of pastors have been tempted to have inappropriate sexual thoughts or behavior with someone in the church but have resisted.

  • 34% of pastors wrestle with the temptation of pornography or visits pornographic sites.

  • 57% of pastors feel fulfilled but yet discouraged, stressed, and fatigued.

  • 84% of pastors desire to have close fellowship with someone they can trust and confide with.

  • Over 50% of pastors are unhealthy, overweight, and do not exercise.

  • The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”.

  • Many denominations are reporting an "Empty Pulpit Crisis". They do not have a shortage of ministers but have a shortage of ministers desiring to fill the role of a pastor.

  • 71% of churches have no plan for a pastor to receive a periodic sabbatical.

  • 66% of churches have no lay counseling support.

  • 30% of churches have no documentation clearly outlining what the church expects of their pastor.

  • 1 out of every 10 pastors will actually retire as a pastor.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV)


  • 73% of churches are treating their pastors better. This statistic has improved due to the advent of clergy appreciation, better education on the role of the pastor, and denominational awareness to better supporting their pastors.

  • 77% of pastors, especially millennials ( younger pastors ages usually born around 1978-1990), are spending 20 or more hours with their families each week.

  • 90% of pastors feel they are called and in the place where God has called them.

If you have any questions or requests, feel free to reach out to us by using our contact form.

Based off surveys done by the following reputable Institutions: Lifeway, Fuller Institute, George Barna group, Dr. Thom Rainer, Pastoral Care Inc, Ed Stetzer, and the Schaeffer Institute of Leadership Development.

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