Although there are more Protestant ministers than churches, many ministers don’t want to work for those congregations, especially smaller ones, according to a study by Duke University. The study was reported in an Associated Baptist Press report.
While nearly every denomination surveyed has more than one minister per congregation—and some more than two—many of those ministers are chaplains, professors or parachurch ministers rather than local-church staff members, the report from Duke’s Pulpit and Pew Research on Pastoral Leaderships stated. The information is based largely on figures from The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.
Those ministers willing to serve congregations are apparently reluctant to work in smaller churches for financial reasons, the study reported. As a result, a large number of small rural and inner-city churches are without pastors.
The report appears more positive for conservative Protestant groups, which almost all have more than one minister per congregation. Southern Baptists have nearly two per church. Meanwhile, moderate and liberal denominations have fewer than one minister per congregation. According to a study by the Presbyterian Church USA, nearly half of their churches running 51 to 100 are pastorless. That percentage jumps to 76.6 percent in Presbyterian churches running fewer than 50. About 10 percent of Southern Baptist churches have pastoral vacancies at any given time.