Chuck DeGroat, professor of counseling and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, said pastors have long had to mediate disputes over theology or church practice, like the role of women in the church or the so-called “worship wars” of recent decades. They now face added stresses from the pandemic and polarization, with people willing to leave their churches over mask policies or discussions of race.
“I’m hearing from pastors that they just don’t know what to do,” he said.
A recent survey of Protestant pastors by the research firm Barna Group found that 29% said they had given “real, serious consideration to quitting being in full-time ministry within the last year.”
David Kinnaman, president of Barna, said the past year has been a “crucible” for pastors. Churches have become fragmented by political and social divides. They have also become frayed, as “people’s connectedness to local congregations is waning.
“The pandemic was a great revealer of the challenges churches face,” said Kinnaman.
The past year has been hard for many people — including some pastors who decided to leave the clergy after feeling fed up with debates around politics and the pandemic.https://t.co/7XEUTyylI5
— Paul O'Donnell (@PaulODonnellEIC) May 7, 2021