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Can Pastors Really Be Happy?

No one can believe the statistics about ministers' job satisfaction.

In last week's newsletter, I presented information we've gathered in our study of pastors over the past two decades. The brief report included information about the percentage of pastors who've been fired or forced out (22.8 percent) and the percentage of pastors who, since they've been in ministry, have had sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse (12 percent). (Click here for the complete report.)

But by far the most controversial statistics were these unassuming ones:

—91 percent of pastors say they feel "very positive" or "positive" about ministry

—Nearly all feel satisfied (91 percent "very satisfied" or "satisfied")

—They want to stay in ministry (75 percent "definitely want to stay" and 21 percent "prefer to stay").

One reader, David, commented: "I wonder how you came to the percentages you did. What I hear and read presents a far more bleak picture."

The statistics came from Christianity Today's surveys, usually print questionnaires sent to 500 or more ...

January/February
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