Survey Says Nine in 10 Pastors Say They Regularly Meet to Counsel Church Members

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Meetings often fill the calendars of office workers, but pastors say their days are often full of meetings as well.

A survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research asked 1,000 Protestant pastors if they regularly have any of six types of meetings. Virtually every pastor (99%) says they regularly have at least one of those work-related meetings.

“Churches are people, and church ministry is people ministry,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “It is not surprising that pastors participate in many meetings, but the nature of those meetings varies.”

Nine in 10 pastors (90%) say they regularly meet to counsel church members.

Pastors of churches with attendance of 100 to 249 (94%) and those with 250 or more (94%) are more likely to say they have these counseling meetings regularly than pastors of churches with attendance of 50 to 99 (88%) and those with less than 50 in attendance (83%).

In an earlier LifeWay Research study on mental illness, 10% of pastors indicated they have a graduate degree in counseling or psychology and 38% had taken graduate school courses in counseling.

Another previous study from LifeWay Research found that 76% of pastors say they refer church members to a professional counselor if they require more than two counseling sessions.

“Pastors have opportunities to give spiritual counsel as well as advice on many other life issues,” said McConnell. “Pastors of larger churches have more people under their care. While they may have additional staff, the senior pastor is still the first person a churchgoer confides in during difficulties.”

Close to 9 in 10 Protestant pastors (88%) say they regularly meet to encourage members to step into leadership roles.

Pastors 65 and older (82%) and those in churches with attendance of less than 50 (79%) are the least likely to say this is a regular part of their ministry.

More than 4 in 5 pastors (84%) say they meet with individuals one-on-one to personally disciple them.

Pastors age 45 to 54 (90%) are more likely to have these meetings regularly than those 55 to 64 (82%) and those 65 and older (80%).

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Source: Baptist Press