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Who Really Cares If Pastors Quit?

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Edify Leaders, a pastoral care and ministry coaching organization headquartered in Oklahoma, has gone on high alert in response to an alarming report by Barna Research that 51% of mainline pastors are considering quitting the ministry.

“The Barna report supports exactly what we are hearing every day from our clients,” says Ray Sanders, founder of Edify Leaders. “For more than a decade we have walked alongside pastors helping them navigate and process the challenges they face in life and ministry, but, like the report indicates, we have never seen it this bad. We have served more than 125 ministers and spouses from multiple ministry backgrounds. Hearing the crisis report, we knew we had to respond fast. That is why we launched our full-scale online consultation services in addition to our in-person private meetings.”

With more than 100 years of combined ministry experience, Edify Leaders has assembled a team of seasoned and experienced ministry leaders who stand with pastors by providing encouraging and inspiring private, confidential, one-on-one, pastoral care and ministry coaching at no cost to ministers or their churches. Over the years, Edify Leaders has developed and refined a proven spirit-led ministry approach that is seeing incredible results as pastors are refreshed, recharged, and renewed. 

“We do a lot of listening. Pastors talk and we listen. Ministers need a sounding board and confidante. Every leader, whether within or outside the church, knows that it gets very lonely at the top. Pastors aren’t superheroes. Even Tiger Woods has a coach. Many executives recognize the benefits of leadership coaching. Pastors face challenges and opportunities like everyone else,” Sanders explained. “We are seeing incredible success as ministers open up and we help lighten their load. We recently added online consultation as an option to our in-person meetings in an effort to help and reach as many ministers as we can. Everything is personal, convenient, and confidential. We go to where ministers are. Now, with the advantage of services like Zoom, we are able to meet with anyone, anywhere.”

Pastors are sharing the impact Edify Leaders has had on their lives at the ministry’s website. 

“Thank you for your investment in my life. I am a better Christ follower, husband, father, friend, and pastor because of you. I appreciate you so very much!”

“I believe there is so much value in what you and your team are doing, your ministry outreach is to be highly commended.”

“Thank you again for today! It’s crazy how you don’t see things that are right in front of your face until you talk it out with someone else.” 

“I’ve just never had someone I’ve felt like I could be this open with. I’ve never felt safe to talk about the truth of it all to anyone.” 

In response to the recent crisis report, that more and more pastors are considering leaving the ministry, Joe Jensen, Barna’s vice president of church engagement, recently said, “Quite frankly, we are alarmed and are concerned about the overall well-being of pastors. We’re concerned with how this is impacting the overall health of the Church. I really believe that at the heart of every healthy church is a healthy pastor.”

“Ministers don’t have to go it alone. We are here for them. We are just a click or a call away and because of the generosity of donors, who love and support ministers, there is absolutely no cost to ministers or their churches. Zero,” Sanders shared. “People love their pastors and are often surprised to hear of the burdens they carry. Studies have shown that many pastors are feeling alone, burned out, overwhelmed, depressed and exhausted as they face the added challenges of ministry brought on by the pandemic.”

The facts regarding the dangers of ministry speak for themselves:

  • 51% of mainline pastors are considering quitting the ministry.
  • 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. 
  • 80% of ministers believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.  
  • 83% of clergy spouses want their spouse to leave pastoral ministry.
  • 4,500 churches closed in 2019

SOURCES INCLUDE: The Fuller Institute, Barna Research, and Lifeway Research.

According to Sanders, not everything is doom and gloom when it comes to ministers. In fact, he believes most pastors are doing just fine and continue to have incredible influence and impact in their communities. Since founding Edify Leaders, Sanders indicates that not one pastor they serve has left the ministry. 

Not only does Edify Leaders come alongside ministers with the encouragement and the power of a listening ear, but the ministry also assists ministers with leadership development, church growth strategies, team development, community engagement and healthy church cultures.

The purpose of Edify Leaders was inspired by Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” To this end, Edify Leaders encourages ministers to not grow weary but to keep up the good work. 

For as long as funding holds and their team’s capacity isn’t reached, Edify Leaders is extending an open invitation to any minister of the gospel desiring to enjoy the benefits of becoming part of the Edify Leaders family. In most cases, ministers meet confidentially for an hour or less, either in person or online, once or twice a month with a member of the Edify Leaders ministry leadership team. As always, there is no cost to ministers or their churches due to the generosity of donors. Ministers are urged to reach out to Edify Leaders at info@EdifyLeaders.org.

“The need is huge and as most everyone knows, a ministry with this level of impact, requires funding. We encourage anyone with a heart for ministers or desiring to help end the pastors’ crisis to give as generously as they can to Edify Leaders. We are excited that all new donations are being matched up to $100,000!” Sanders explained. “There is simply too much at stake. We can’t afford to see more churches close or to see our churches lose more pastors. Healthy pastors lead healthy churches. Healthy churches have eternal impact in every community where they reside. We would love for our fellow believers to visit EdifyLeaders.org/joinus to sponsor and encourage a pastor today.” 


NOTE: KTOK Radio recently interviewed Ray Sanders regarding the pastors’ crisis. To hear the entire interview, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaFqfAYkX8g or visit AnInsideLook.com and select Episode #6. Or, watch the video below.