U.S. Pastors' Greatest Need Is 'Developing Leaders and Volunteers': Lifeway Poll

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Tuesday, January 11, 2022
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U.S. Pastors' Greatest Need Is 'Developing Leaders and Volunteers': Lifeway Poll


Pastors in the United States say their greatest need involves the desire to develop leaders and volunteers within the church, according to a new Lifeway Research survey that examined the needs and concerns of today’s ministers.

The poll found that “developing leaders and volunteers” leads the list of needs among American Protestant pastors, with 77 percent identifying it as an issue that needs to be addressed in their church. Not far behind were “fostering connections with unchurched people” (76 percent) and “people’s apathy or lack of commitment” (75 percent).

All total, 17 needs in the survey were selected by most pastors as items that need to be confronted. It was part of the 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors study.

“The pre-existing challenges of ministry were amplified by COVID, and it’s important we lean in and listen closely to pastors,” said Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway Christian Resources. “This project has shed light on critical needs they have and will point the way forward in how we partner with them to fuel their ministries and improve their health in multiple areas.”

Other needs identified by a majority of pastors included:

  • Consistency in personal prayer, 72 percent.
  • Friendships and fellowship with others, 69 percent.
  • Training current leaders and volunteers, 68 percent.
  • Consistency of Bible reading not related to sermon or teaching preparation, 68 percent.
  • Trusting God, 66 percent.
  • Relationships with other pastors, 64 percent.
  • Consistency in taking a Sabbath, 64 percent.
  • Stress, 63 percent.
  • Personal disciple-making, 63 percent.
  • Confessing and repenting from personal sin, 61 percent.
  • Consistency exercising, 59 percent.
  • Avoiding over-commitment and over-work, 55 percent.
  • Challenging people where they lack obedience, 55 percent.
  • Time management, 51 percent.

“The number and breadth of needs pastors are currently facing is staggering,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “... Clearly, pastors are not looking for shortcuts and are taking their roles as spiritual leaders in their church seriously.”

Photo courtesy: Unsplash


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.