Friday, 10 May 2013

Some Pastoral Stats

It was Eddie who put us all onto these stats on the general emotional and spiritual state of American evangelical pastors. Quite a revealing bunch of stats, even with the usual caveats on trusting anything you read on the Internet.

I guess American churches,  and particularly evangelical ones,  are going to give pastors that kind of stress. If people are desperate for a strong leader who agrees with them, and you have a job that depends on an annual popularity vote, you're on a tightrope. At least we give politicians a reasonable term before deciding they're as bad as the last lot and throwing them out.

In some parallel English research which I just made up, meanwhile,  I have been able to reveal the following:

45% of Anglican ministers feel lonely in church because the congregation sits so far away.

35% of clergy would rather crawl over broken glass than hear "Lord of the Dance" ever again.

40% of clergy are grateful for getting pastoral calls on their day off, as it distracts them from the paperwork.

17% of Methodist ministers wish they'd been lumberjacks.

4% of ministers really thought it would be like Dibley.

31% of rural ministers have driven between two of their churches with their eyes closed.

79% of ministers can't see how anyone could have the energy to have an affair.
30% prefer gin, 30% wine, 30% malt. They all think the 2% who like beer are weird.

9% have been booby-trapped by a lay preacher who was desperate to get a chance to preach.

7% of rural clergy, when meeting their spouse, vaguely remember their faces but can't remember which church they go to.

70% couldn't imagine doing anything else. Though half of those can't work out why.

Of the 99% who are blessed and blessings every day, 40% don't realise it.

80% have had an almighty row with someone over the location of the tea light / candle stand.

12% have to be forced by their spouses to go to to church committee meetings with a pointy stick.

When told they only work one day a week, 70% laugh outwardly.  80% sob inwardly.  10% contemplate violence.


  1. The thing that jumped out at me from the American article was the statement, "It would have been hard to stand there and preach to a congregation when I knew almost half hadn’t really wanted my wife and me in that position."

    My mother told me about the time back in 1956 when my father was leaving his current circuit and the congregation was looking for a replacement. They wanted to reject one potential minister on the grounds that he was unmarried and they needed a minister's wife to do all those things that ministers' wives do. The superintendent minister told them in no uncertain terms that they did not employ the minister's wife and anything that she might do for the church was done on the same voluntary basis as might be done by any other member of the congregation.

    Nowadays most clergy spouses have their own jobs, so I hope that congregations have fewer preconceived expectations of teh contribution that they will make to church life.

  2. My query is this applicable to Beaker Worship? After all, the Arch Druid hasn't won any popularity votes recently and her domineering style of brutal leadership must be due for a change.

    1. I think you'll find I'm always re-elected, with 100% of the popular vote.

    2. I think you'll find I'm always re-elected, with 100% of the popular vote.

    3. I would suggest that the fact that 100% of the popular vote implies 100% of ballot rigging, or that if a show of hands is held, all of the voters have their hands tied behind their backs so that their lack of show is thought to be 100% assent.

      I'm thinking of referring you to the Electoral Commission, because they'd take a dim view of such vote rigging :)

  3. A domineering style of leadership ensures that you don't need to worry about a lot of those items, at least until the revolution arrives, because the leader simply has to announce what will happen with the candle stand, music choice etc. and everyone falls into line.

    For some reason I'm remembering tales of what happened when a minister from a very traditional (in the sense of holding the perhaps unorthodox belief that the minister is God) parish arrived in a parish where people had a much more active idea of the laity's contribution to the way things are done. I believe the choir was the first to rebel.

    1. Often the way. That's why we floated ours off with helium.


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