Clergy Burnout Identifying Factors Impacting Their Ability to Govern Leadership Teams

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LaVelle, Dermathe
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Researchers are devoting time to discover the factors contributing to clergy burnout. Pastoring a congregation is a demanding job, and the daily responsibilities of being an administrator, pastoral counselor, teacher, leadership trainer, and grief counselor can be overwhelming (Runcan, 2013). Researchers have discovered that clergy work between 50 and 60 hours a week, which has led to emotional and physical fatigue (Berry et al., 2012). Recent research and news articles discuss the growing number of pastors suffering burnout and are leaving the ministry at 1,800 yearly in the United States (Currier et al., 2019). Clergy burnout is not just a United States problem but also an international phenomenon; a study conducted by 80 Chinese pastors in Hong Kong found that 95% were experiencing burnout symptoms (Abernethy et al., 2016). This qualitative phenomenological study aims to identify the factors contributing to clergy burnout and their impact on their ministry leadership teams' governance. There were five research questions related to environmental factors, emotional, spiritual health, leadership style, and governance of leadership teams. The target population was pastors in the South Seattle area with congregations under 500 memberships. A qualitative phenomenological design was used in this study. Six to twelve pastor's males and females of various denominations were selected. Data were recorded from individual interviews, Zoom, and telephone. The interview data were transcribed after each interview, and the raw interview data was analyzed using line-by-line coding, and themes were developed using inductive and deductive analysis. The purpose was to identify key themes that can help clergy and church leaders develop strategies to help minimize burnout and improve the clergy's ability to be effective.
clergy , burnout , governance , leadership , pastors