The average age of pastors is getting grayer — about 10 years grayer — than it was 25 years ago, according to a recent Barna Group study called “The State of Pastors.”
Today’s average pastor is only a few years below the minimum retirement age, something David Kinnaman, Barna’s president, said is significant.
“In 1991 when George Barna wrote his book, ‘Today’s Pastors,’ the typical pastor was 44 years [old]. And now, just 25 years later, the typical pastor is 54 years old,” Kinnaman said. “This is a critical issue if we’re going to have the ranks of young leaders filling the pipeline of spiritual leadership today.”
Staying longer in pulpit
The study, which was conducted in partnership with Pepperdine University and interviewed more than 14,000 pastors, found that only 1 in 7 was under the age of 40, according to The Christian Post.
Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, noted in an earlier report that pastors are staying longer in the pulpit for two reasons, the most notable of which is financial concerns.
“Like their peers in the secular world, the Great Recession took its toll on their retirement accounts,” Rainer said. “Even worse, too many did not prepare financially for retirement at all.”
Another reason is Boomers’ perceptions of old age, he said. “Most view old age beginning in the early 70s rather than 65.”
In the Barna study, a large number of pastors reported doing well spiritually, physically and relationally. But data also showed that the longer pastors were in ministry, the more likely they were to experience doubt, the Post reported. (TAB)
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