A new study from the Barna Group shows that American pastors feel lonelier and more isolated than ever.
In 2022, 65 percent of pastors reported feelings of loneliness, compared to 42 percent in 2015, CBN News reports.
Pastors also said that just 49 percent felt “well-supported” by people close to them. In 2015, that number was 68 percent.
Also, just 35 percent of pastors reported receiving monthly spiritual support from a network of peers or a mentor.
In its report, Barna said that “a course correction is needed” to support pastors.
“These relationships do not flourish by accident,” Dr. Glenn Packiam, Barna senior fellow and pastor, said. “They require attention and intentionality…Life is too full of the demands of ministry, the chaos of kids’ activities, and the many unpredictable events for us to just hope that meaningful connection will just happen.”
He added, “Anything worth having is worth pursuing. The chase for deep friendships and intimate relationships is a lifelong quest. But it can begin today. If we really want to last in ministry, if we want to emerge from this as truly and fully human beings, then we must take seriously the human vocation of loving well.”
At home, pastors say they connect with their family, with two in five pastors (41 percent) saying they practice the sabbath with their family and 77 percent saying they spend uninterrupted time with their children, and 24 percent going on a date with their spouse.
The data comes after another survey from Lifeway Research, which showed that 75 percent of pastors say they are “extremely stressed.”
“Pastors who are bucking the trend toward burnout tend to portray a strong connection with others around them, a flourishing connection with God, and a sense of optimism about the future of the Church. They are energized by their jobs, feel well supported by the people in their lives, and generally satisfied with their mental, emotional, and spiritual health,” Packiam said.