Fewer pastors say their top priority among spiritual needs are consistency of Bible reading outside of their sermon and teaching preparation (15%), friendships and fellowships with others (9%), relationships with other pastors (8%) and confessing and repenting from personal sins (3%).
“There is a constant pressure in ministry to try to function by your own strength and do one more thing or help one more person,” said McConnell. “But that pressure runs counter to the relationship with God you want to point people to. Investing in your relationship with God means slowing down and spending time with Him and enjoying Him. That’s hard for many pastors.”
White pastors are among those most likely to say they need to give attention to developing a consistency in taking a Sabbath (18%). Mainline pastors (26%) are also more likely than evangelical pastors (14%) to say Sabbath consistency is most important for them.
African American pastors are among the most likely to say they need to place a priority on trusting God (28%). Older pastors, those 65 and older, are the age demographic most likely to say trusting God is the most important priority for them (29%).
Pastors of larger churches, 250 or more for weekend worship services, are more likely than pastors of the smallest churches, those with less than 50 in attendance, to say consistency of Bible reading not related to sermon or teaching preparation is their most important spiritual need (21% vs. 11%).
Mandrell said he’s optimistic about the future ministry of those who recognize their spiritual needs. “I’m hopeful pastors will have increased spiritual depth as they commit to personal prayer, seek out healthy friendships with other leaders, and lean into the Sabbath rest necessary to fuel them for the call on their lives,” he said.
This article originally appeared here.