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Research Services

Eight-part Minister Survey series wraps up with letters ministers wrote to their younger selves

Much has been learned from the Minister Survey. Researchers and leaders will continue to explore the data over the next year and look to how the information can be shared with leadership, seminaries and ministers so that they can begin the work of encouraging what is helpful and addressing concerns. So, what are the key takeaways from this work? What is promising? What needs addressing?

Heads up! The call to ministry can occur just about anytime

According to the Call to Ministry Report, the latest report to come out from the Minister Study conducted by PC(USA) Research Services, which is available in English, (with Spanish and Korean versions to be posted soon), half of all ministers heard the call to ministry before the age of 20.

PC(USA) pastors report widespread fatigue, burnout and isolation

PC(USA) ministers are generally satisfied with their life and find fulfillment in their call, according to research published in the Minister Wellbeing Report available in English, Spanish, and Korean by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Research Services. However, this overall positive finding hides some underlying issues regarding minister wellbeing. Although 9 in 10 ministers are satisfied with their life, only 41% are very satisfied.

Minister Survey shows pastors struggle with consumer debt, retirement planning

It comes as no surprise that Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ministers, like many people, face financial challenges. Most ministers report being financially stable, owning a home, paying their bills, and planning for (or living in) retirement, according to research conducted by PC(USA) Research Services. Available in English, Spanish, and Korean, the Minister Finance Report, which does not include educational debt, shows that about half of all pastors report that their household incomes are sufficient to meet their needs and manage debt. In fact, 25% of non-retired ministers report no consumer debt. However, about 1 in 4 pastors report they cannot afford vacations and big-ticket items.

PC(USA) ministers are not reticent to talk about mental health

On the 10th anniversary of the adoption of “Comfort My People: A Policy Paper on Serious Mental Health,” the 223rd General Assembly (2018) funded a two-year mental health initiative based in the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA). The mental health questions in the Research Services minister survey were designed in collaboration with PMA staff and are part of a larger study of mental health across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The questions focus on four areas: awareness, training, ministry and self-care.