Barna Survey Finds Vast Majority of Protestant Pastors Were Approached for Help With Adultery, Premarital Sex, Porn, and Other Sexual Sins

OMRO, Wis. (BP) — A great majority of Protestant pastors were approached by staff or members for help with marital infidelity, premarital sex, pornography and other sexual sins, according to new data released by Barna Group spanning a year.

But only a third of pastors said they felt “very qualified” to address the preponderance of issues staff and members broached, Barna said in the survey of 410 mainline and non-mainline senior and executive pastors.

Eighty percent of pastors including Southern Baptists were asked to help or counsel a staff or church member dealing with marital infidelity, the most prevalent problem in the study, Barna said.

On average, staff and members approached pastors regarding half of a list of 18 concerns Barna addressed, the study found. Issues brought to the attention of more than half of pastors were, in descending order of prevalence, marital infidelity, premarital sex, sexual problems within marriage, lust, pornography use by a husband, sexual abuse or assault, porn use by a teen, sex offender issues, sex education questions, and porn use by an unmarried adult.

The findings are the first in a projected series of reports from the Sexuality and the Church study commissioned by the Brushfires Foundation, a sexual integrity ministry in Omro, Wis. The collaborative research project is supported by 24 national and state groups including Focus on the Family, Enough is Enough (EIE), the American Family Association and the Louisiana Family Forum.

Southern Baptist pastors, considered non-mainline by Barna, were among respondents from 29 other denominations as well as non-denominational churches, Brushfires said in releasing its findings Nov. 15.

Brushfires president Daniel Wiess described the findings as concerning.

“It doesn’t alarm us that pastors are encountering so much sexual brokenness over the course of a year. We know such issues exist,” Weiss said in a study press release. “What concerns us is so few pastors feel very qualified to handle these difficult and painful issues.

“There is a great need for ministry leaders to be trained,” he said, “and for outside caregiving ministries to work directly with local churches to handle these issues in a caring and professional way.”

Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press