American pastors aren’t as young as they used to be.
As clergy live longer and stay in ministry longer, the average age of Protestant senior pastors has risen to 54—a decade older than 25 years before, when the average age was 44.
Now, just 1 in 7 pastors leading congregations is under 40, according to Barna Group’s 2017 State of Pastors project.
In the new report, Barna president David Kinnaman called the aging pastorate “one of the most glaring challenges facing the church today.”
The pulpit has been graying for decades. In the ’60s, a majority of pastors were under 45. In 2017, most are over 60. The age shift stems from evolving career expectations and difficulty passing leadership on to millennial-aged pastors, Barna reported.
The research, conducted in partnership with Pepperdine University, represents surveys and interviews with 14,000 Protestant pastors.
Older Pastors Staying Put
Today’s pastors are less likely to go from congregation to congregation ...1