Home Christian News Lifeway Research: Pastors Report Struggling With Time Management, Over-Commitment

Lifeway Research: Pastors Report Struggling With Time Management, Over-Commitment

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Image by Luis Villasmil (via Unsplash)

As pastors think about their greatest needs, some of those go beyond their ministries and are instead connected to their personal lives. Many pastors worry about their time management skills and how they can balance all the responsibilities they have at church and at home.

In their personal lives, half of U.S. Protestant pastors say they need to focus on time management, and more than half say avoiding over-commitment is a challenge for them, according to the latest release in the Greatest Needs of Pastors study from Lifeway Research.

“Pastors carry heavy burdens that include expectations of others as well as self-imposed demands,” said Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, “There is a correlation between trusting in God—as explored in a previous release of the Greatest Needs of Pastors study—and ability to find work-life balance.”

Pastors’ Personal Lives

To determine the greatest needs facing U.S. Protestant pastors today, Lifeway Research interviewed 200 pastors who identified 44 issues they face in their roles. A thousand additional pastors were surveyed to determine which needs were most prevalent. All the unique needs were divided into seven categories: ministry difficulties, spiritual needs, mental challenges, personal life, self-care, people dynamics and areas of skill development.

Considering all these categories, 6% of pastors say their personal lives are currently the most challenging area for them or require the most attention. Six needs are classified as aspects of a pastor’s personal life.

The primary needs pastors face in their personal lives focus on how they handle their time and work. Half (51%) say time management is an aspect that needs attention or investment today, while 43% specifically point to developing a balance between work and home.

Fewer U.S. Protestant pastors say they need to devote additional attention directly to their children (29%), marriages (26%), caring for aging parents (23%) or financial stress (18%). Close to 1 in 6 (17%) say none of these are areas in need of specific investment.

“Pastors were not being asked if these areas of personal life matter. They were asked to indicate those areas that need additional focus today,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Nowhere is it more likely than personal life, for a need to emerge for a pastor because they are giving attention elsewhere. There are only so many hours to split between work and home, and finding the right balance is important.”

Younger pastors, those between 18 and 44, are among those most likely to say they need to give attention to time management (58%) and their work/home balance (52%). They’re also among those most likely to say they need to invest specifically in their children (45%) and marriages (32%).

Pastors of more normative sized churches are among the most likely to say financial stress is an area of concern for them. Those leading churches of fewer than 50 (21%) and those with congregations of 50-99 (20%) are more likely than those at churches with attendance of 100-249 (14%) to say their personal financial situations require attention.