I’m now less than a week from sabbatical, and just thinking about it makes me feel rested. Why, some ask, do pastors take sabbaticals? Short answer: because pastoring is a marathon, not a sprint, and tends to wear one out over time. Consider these stats:
Pastors have a high burnout rate, poor health, and far too many pastors don’t finish well.
In 2010 the New York Times ran a piece on the high burnout rate of pastors. In it they say: “Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”
Several years ago Focus on the Family commissioned a study of pastors and found the following:
* 80% of pastors believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
* 75% report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis once in their ministry, and 46% of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
* 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
* 45% of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.
I am super grateful for a church family that is committed to the health of me and my family. Grace rules.