Research on Pastors and Social Issues

We just released some research on pastors and social issues. Click for the news release including the full story and the graphics.

Here are some excerpts:

With last Friday’s release of the Manhattan Declaration – a 4,700-word statement from evangelical, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox signers declaring their commitment to the sanctity of human life, biblical marriage and religious liberty – newly released data from LifeWay Research describe the beliefs of Protestant pastors on these issues, and how often they discuss them in church.

In a telephone survey of 1,002 senior church leaders conducted in October 2008, Protestant pastors who identified themselves as politically conservative or very conservative are more likely to speak to their churches on homosexuality and the unborn than their liberal counterparts, according to Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research.

Eighty-nine percent of very conservative Protestant pastors said they speak to their churches at least once a year on the unborn, and 79 percent indicated they address the topic of homosexuality about once a year or more often. This compares with 25 percent of liberal or very liberal pastors who address the issue of the unborn at least annually, and 53 percent who speak on the topic of homosexuality…

“It appears that Protestant pastors are much more vocal about the unborn than about the issue of homosexuality,” said Stetzer. “It is interesting to note that in many cases their fervency of belief does not line up with their frequency of comments. For example, 42 percent of all Protestant pastors rarely or never speak on the subject.”

When forced to choose, three-fourths of all Protestant pastors surveyed said they are pro-life, and 13 percent said they are pro-choice…

Among pastors who speak to their congregations on homosexuality several times a year or more, 84 percent also speak on poverty that often. This is significantly higher than among pastors who rarely or never speak on homosexuality, of whom 78 percent speak on poverty several times a year or more.

Likewise, among pastors who speak to their church on the unborn several times a year or more, 85 percent also speak on poverty that often.  

by Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine and Catalyst Monthly, serves on the advisory council of Sermon Central and Christianity Today’s Building Church Leaders, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. Ed is Visiting Professor of Research and Missiology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Visiting Research Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has taught at fifteen other colleges and seminaries. He also serves on the Church Services Team at the International Mission Board. Ed’s primary role is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence.
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