Reasons pastors have ever moved to another church for employment...

Study shows why Protestant clergy change jobs -

promotions are a more common cause than God’s call

(Original release date:  September 7, 2005)  Research results being released in Facts & Trends magazine show that it’s more common for a pastor to take a job at a different church due to getting a promotion than it is for a pastor to move to a new church because of feeling God’s call or leading.

 

The study, conducted by Grey Matter Research (formerly Ellison Research) of Phoenix, Arizona among a representative sample of 872 Protestant church ministers nationwide, explored the job situations of ministers in the United States.

 

The average American minister has held a paid job in ministry for 19 years, and has spent an average of 15.6 of those years as a senior pastor of one or more churches.  The average minister has been the senior pastor of his or her current church for 7.7 years.

 

Ministers at larger churches tended to have a longer tenure – an average of 8.7 years in their current position, compared to 7.2 years among small churches.

 

The typical minister has been the senior pastor at three different churches during his/her career.  Thirty-one percent are in their first position as a senior pastor, 24% have pastored two churches, 16% have been with three churches, and 29% have been with four or more churches.

 

Among pastors who are part of a denomination, 19% are assigned to positions by their denomination, while 81% are free to choose their own job.  Denominational assignments are most prevalent within the Methodist tradition, although not exclusive to Methodist churches.

 

Being assigned to jobs has a strong influence on how long pastors stay in one position.  The average length of time with their current church is 8.2 years among those who are free to select their own job, but only 4.9 years among those who are assigned to a church.

 

Similarly, pastors who are free to choose their own jobs have led an average of 2.7 churches over their career, compared to an average of 4.1 churches among those who are assigned jobs (even though the length of time they have been in the ministry did not differ between the two groups).

 

Many clergy are concerned that pastors do not spend enough years at one church.  Only 31% feel the average pastor in their denomination stays as senior pastor of a church about the right amount of time.  Thirty-three percent believe the average tenure is a little too short, and 26% feel it is much too short.  Only one out of ten ministers believes pastors tend to stay at the same church for too many years.

 

Attitudes differ between ministers who are assigned jobs and those who are free to choose their own job.  Almost three out of four pastors who are assigned jobs by their denomination (73%) feel ministers do not get to spend enough years at any one church, compared to 57% among those who get to select their own position.

 

Concerns about whether pastors keep any job long enough are especially common among Southern Baptists (87% of whom feel pastors in their denomination don’t tend to stay at one church for enough years); Southern Baptist ministers are also more likely than average to have held multiple positions over their years in the ministry.

 

Methodists also are frequently concerned that pastors don’t stay at one church long enough (74%), but most Methodist ministers are assigned to their positions, which in turn means Methodists are among the most likely to have served in multiple churches during their careers.

 

The study also evaluated the various reasons ministers have had for changing jobs throughout their careers.  The most common reason for moving from one church to another is a desire to serve in a different type of community or a different region of the country.  Twenty-seven percent of all Protestant ministers have switched jobs for this reason.

 

Other common reasons for changing jobs are getting promoted to a higher position, such as from an associate pastor at one church to the senior pastor of another church (20%), wanting to pastor a larger church (16%), being transferred by their denomination (15%), and leaving to start a new church (15%).

 

Other reasons for moving have included feeling the move is God’s will, or being called by God to another church (12%), better pay and/or benefits (11%), being fired or asked to leave a church (10%), and switching to a different denomination (9%).  Relatively few pastors have left a job because they wanted to pastor a smaller church (4%), or because their church closed down or ceased to exist (2%).  Eighteen percent have had some other reason for leaving a job; these included reasons such as needing to move for family needs, job frustration, seeking a new challenge, conflict within the church, and just wanting a change.

 

Reasons for leaving a job as senior pastor of a church vary quite a bit by denominational groups:

 

· Among Methodists, by far the most common reason for a job change is being transferred by the denomination (80%).  Switching denominations is also more common among pastors who are currently Methodists than among other denominational groups, as is wanting to move to a larger church.  Methodists are much less likely than average to have left a job to start a new church, to have felt God’s call to go to another church, or to have been fired.

· Presbyterian ministers are much less likely than average to leave to start a new church, but are about average in most of their other reasons for having changed jobs.  Their most common reason for changing jobs has been a desire to live and work in a different region or type of community.

· Lutherans are almost twice as likely as average to change jobs because they want to minister in a different region or type of community, which is also their number one reason for having left a church.

· Pentecostal and charismatic clergy are much more likely than average to leave an existing church in order to start a new church, and about half as likely as average to leave in order to move to a larger church.  Planting new churches is the top reason for job changes among Pentecostal/charismatic clergy.

· Southern Baptists are about twice as likely as the average minister to have left a church because they felt God was calling them to a different church, although the most common reason for a job change is still a desire to minister in a different region or type of community.

· Baptist ministers outside of the Southern Baptist Convention (e.g. American Baptist, National Baptist, Conservative Baptist) are less likely than others to have left a church because they wanted to work in a different region of the country or a different type of community.  Their number one reason for switching jobs is getting promoted to a higher position.

 

Ron Sellers, president of Grey Matter Research, noted that the results from this study serve as a good reminder that while being part of the clergy is a calling for many ministers, it is also a job.  “People who work in real estate, manufacturing, marketing research, and other careers change jobs in order to move to a city they prefer, get a promotion, start a new company, find better working conditions, and make more money, among other reasons,” Sellers stated.  “This study shows ministers take new jobs mostly for these same reasons.  Most pastors have not changed jobs simply because they felt God was calling them to a different church – for most, a job change is a result of a promotion, a move to a larger church, a desire to live in a different community, or even as a result of getting fired.”

 

Sellers also advised that pastors and denominations need to take a long look at how long clergy are staying with each job.  “Three out of four pastors who get their jobs assigned by their denomination believe they don’t have enough time at each church – that’s something these denominations need to consider as they move people around.  However, there is a common feeling even among clergy who are free to choose their own jobs that pastors don’t stay long enough at any one church.  Individual ministers also need to consider that issue as they look at the possibility of taking a new job,” Sellers said.

 

Study Details:

The study was conducted by Grey Matter Research (formerly Ellison Research), a marketing research company located in Phoenix, Arizona.  The sample of 872 Protestant ministers included only those who are actively leading churches.  The study’s total sample is accurate to within ±3.2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level with a 50 percent response distribution.

 

The study was conducted in all 50 states, using a representative sample of pastors from all Protestant denominations.  Respondents’ geography, church size, and denomination were carefully tracked to ensure appropriate representation and accuracy.

 

Here is the test to find whether your mission

on Earth is finished:  if you’re alive, it isn’t.

Richard Bach, U.S. novelist

Reasons pastors have ever moved to another church for employment (by denominational group)...

A PASSION FOR

RESEARCH THAT

MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Grey Matter logo

Current job situation, by church size…

Current job situation, by denominational group…

 

Reasons for a Job Change

 

All

Small

Church

Mid-size

Church

Large

Church

Jobs are

Assigned

Can Take

Any Job

Wanted to serve in a

   different type of community

 

27%

 

24%

 

29%

 

38%

 

24%

 

29%

Moved to a higher position

20

18

22

22

22

19

Wanted to move to a larger church

16

12

21

20

21

15

Left to plant a new church

15

15

16

16

7

17

Denomination transferred you

15

15

15

14

78

2

God’s call

12

10

11

18

5

13

Better pay or benefits

11

10

14

10

9

11

Released from position/asked to leave

10

11

8

7

4

11

Switched denominations

9

9

10

7

16

8

Wanted to move to a smaller church

4

4

5

1

6

4

Church shut down

2

3

1

1

1

2

Other reason

18

17

18

18

9

19

 

Reasons for a Job Change

Southern

Baptist

Other

Baptist

 

Methodist

 

Lutheran

 

Pentecostal

 

Presbyterian

All

Others

Wanted to serve in a

   different type of community

 

30%

 

17%

 

28%

 

49%

 

21%

 

32%

 

35%

Moved to a higher position

19

20

27

12

21

16

23

Wanted to move to a larger church

22

12

30

20

7

23

14

Left to plant a new church

12

17

1

15

31

2

22

Denomination transferred you

--

2

80

2

14

--

6

God’s call

24

14

2

7

14

17

7

Better pay or benefits

15

10

12

15

6

14

14

Released from position/asked to leave

12

8

4

9

10

10

16

Switched denominations

6

5

15

6

6

11

11

Wanted to move to a smaller church

3

5

4

4

4

4

3

Church shut down

1

2

1

2

2

2

2

Other reason

22

16

6

33

17

16

17

 

Job Tenure/Situation

 

All

Small

Church

Mid-size

Church

Large

Church

Jobs are

Assigned

Can Take

Any Job

Average number of years in paid ministry

19.0

16.9

20.2

22.7

19.2

19.0

Average number of years as a senior pastor

15.6

14.9

15.9

17.0

16.0

15.4

Average number of years as senior pastor of current church

7.7

7.2

8.1

8.7

4.9

8.2

Churches pastored in career:

 

 

 

 

 

 

   just one

31%

33%

32%

26%

16%

35%

   two

24

22

20

35

23

24

   three

16

16

14

17

12

16

   four or more

29

29

34

22

49

25

Believe the average stay of a pastor at a church is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

   much too long

2

3

1

1

--

2

   a little too long

8

8

8

7

6

8

   about right

31

34

32

24

22

33

   a little too short

33

31

32

40

47

31

   much too short

26

25

28

27

26

26

 

Job Tenure/Situation

Southern

Baptist

Other

Baptist

 

Methodist

 

Lutheran

 

Pentecostal

 

Presbyterian

All

Others

Average number of

   years in paid ministry

 

21.3

 

16.2

 

19.2

 

21.6

 

18.5

 

20.4

 

19.4

Average number of years

   as a senior pastor

 

18.0

 

12.8

 

16.6

 

17.2

 

15.7

 

15.8

 

15.2

Average number of years as

   senior pastor of current church

 

7.6

 

6.9

 

5.1

 

8.9

 

10.0

 

7.2

 

8.3

Churches pastored in career:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   just one

21%

37%

16%

26%

36%

34%

40%

   two

21

22

17

25

27

36

28

   three

21

20

15

20

17

13

9

   four or more

37

21

52

29

20

27

23

Believe the average stay of

   a pastor at a church is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   much too long

--

4

--

4

1

4

1

   a little too long

2

9

6

14

8

8

11

   about right

11

26

20

49

51

35

40

   a little too short

34

32

50

27

23

38

27

   much too short

53

30

24

6

18

15

20

michael kors black friday michael kors black friday michael kors black friday michael kors black friday michael kors Black Friday michael kors Black Friday lululemon cyber monday lululemon black friday canada goose cyber monday kate spade cyber monday Abercrombie and fitch cyber monday Oakley black friday Oakley cyber monday Prada black friday gucci black friday victoria's secret cyber monday victoria secret cyber monday coach black Friday moncler black friday north face black friday true religion black friday uggs black Friday north face cyber Monday north face black Friday north face black friday louis vuitton cyber monday canada goose cyber monday nike black friday michael kors cyber monday beats by dre black friday uggs black Friday beats by dre black friday north face cyber monday michael kors cyber monday moncler cyber monday michael kors cyber monday Victoria Secret cyber monday michael kors cyber Monday uggs black friday uggs black friday canada goose cyber monday michael kors black Friday beats by dre black Friday christian louboutin black friday Babyliss black Friday Mulberry cyber monday uggs black friday black friday jordans uggs black friday uggs black friday michael kors black Friday beats by dre cyber Monday moncler cyber monday uggs cyber monday lululemon cyber monday Herve Leger black friday pandora black Friday uggs black friday uggs cyber monday abercrombie and fitch black Friday uggs cyber monday under armour cyber monday uggs cyber monday Tiffany black Friday bose black friday north face cyber monday deals uggs black friday north face black friday uggs cyber monday michael kors cyber Monday michael kors black Friday jordan black friday michael kors black Friday lululemon black friday canada goose cyber monday louis vuitton cyber Monday jordan 13 barons jordan 13 barons barons 13s jordan 13 barons jordan 13 barons jordan 13 barons jordan 13 barons jordan 13 barons barons 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s jordan 13 hologram hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s jordan 13 barons jordan 13 barons barons 13s jordan 13 barons barons 13s barons 13s barons 13s jordan 13 barons barons 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s jordan 13 hologram barons 13s jordan 13 barons barons 13s jordan 13 barons barons 13s jordan 13 barons barons 13s jordan 13 barons jordan 13 barons jordan 13 hologram jordan 13 hologram hologram 13s jordan 13 hologram hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s hologram 13s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 14 black toe jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 11 legend blue black infrared 6s Legend Blue 11s lebron 12 Lebron 11 beats by dre outlet beats by dre outlet legend blue 11s coach outlet online legend blue 11s michael kors outlet kate spade outlet coach outlet online lebron 12 black infrared 6s lebron 12 cheap oakley sunglasses jordan 11 legend blue kate spade outlet black infrared 6s michael kors outlet legend blue 11s louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet legend blue 11s coach factory outlet beats by dre cheap louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet legend blue 11s uggs black friday jordan 6 black infrared coach black friday jordan 11 legend blue beats by dre cheap black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s coach factory outlet jordan 11 legend blue jordan 6 black infrared michael kors outlet lebron 11 michael kors outlet jordan 6 black infrared Nike kd vii michael kors outlet Nike kd vii Easy Money Legend Blue 11s legend blue 11s michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet legend blue 11s coach outlet online jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 13 barons louis vuitton outlet jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared louis vuitton outlet uggs black friday legend blue 11s michael kors outlet online jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s uggs black friday north face black friday sac louis vuitton legend blue 11s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s legend blue 11s black infrared 6s black infrared 6s beats by dre cheap jordan retro 11 black infrared 6s jordan retro 6 jordan 11 legend blue jordan 11 legend blue jordan 13 barons Lebron 11 jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 6 black infrared jordan 14 black toe michael kors outlet jordan 11 Legend Blue lebron 11 jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s coach outlet online louis vuitton outlet coach outlet online legend blue 11s jordan retro 11 louis vuitton outlet jordan 6 black infrared jordan 6 black infrared black infrared 6s legend blue 11s beats by dre black friday jordan 6 black infrared jordan retro 11 beats by dre cheap michael kors outlet jordan 6 black infrared