Thursday, April 19, 2007

Preachers like their Jobs!!!

Job satisfaction -- that's what we all want in life. Despite everything I read about clergy burn out (and we featured an article on that in Sharing the Practice) word comes out that in a recent survey 87% of clergy say they're satisfied with their job. Folks, that's tops among all professions/vocations -- topping fire fighters by a whopping 7%. In the article on Ethics Daily Marcia Nelson reports:

Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the university research center, said he was surprised clergy led the list. Many "helping" occupations, such as doctors and nurses, also experience stress, which can affect their overall happiness, he said.

"Apparently the rewards of spiritual guidance and leadership outweigh the burdens of being a religious leader," he said.

One caveat on this -- a recent Time Mag story I've reported on here suggests that as happy as the preachers are, their wives (for us male clergy) aren't exactly thrilled or prepared for their lot in life.


Mystical Seeker said...

Interesting. I guess Barbara Brown Taylor was the exception (she wrote in her recent book about how she ultimately realized that she didn't like being an Episcopal priest). I think it surely takes a certain kind of personality to be a clergyman or clergywoman. Not everyone is cut out for the job. I know I could never do that kind of work myself.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

You know, when I was ordained, my intent was to teach not pastor. When I ended up a pastor, I found that to be difficult, and yet today I'm quite happy as a pastor -- though I still have that inkling to teach.

With Barbara's confessional, she shares her own journey into and out of parish ministry. She experienced burnout and yet she still ministers.

No, ministry is a calling, to which not all are called. I do wonder about my own calling and yet ...

I was thinking about this blog and the role it plays in my own ministry. In many ways it's an extension of that ministry to a community that lies far beyond Lompoc or Santa Barbara!

Mystical Seeker said...

Then again, there is the idea that all of us are called to be some kind of minister, even if the form that the ministry takes isn't as a paid clergy member.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

You caught me in the trap of my own theology there, didn't you!

Yes, you're quite right. I have long spoken of ministry as a shared vocation of the whole body of Christ. It's the reason why I prefer to use the term pastor rather than minister. And here I go, using exactly the language I try to avoid.

We are all gifted and called to by ministers, but some among the body are called to serve as pastors and teachers -- in essence as leaders of the community. My tradition, the Disciples, isn't hierarchical, so there's no lording it over the people!

Anonymous said...

Hiya Bob,

Do Christians like their jobs?

Yes, some king of minister, Mystical Seeker:

Deuteronomy 13:1  "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Ezekiel 13:1 Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, 'Listen to the word of the LORD! 3 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing. 4 "O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins. 5 "You have not gone up into the breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the day of the LORD. 6 "They see falsehood and lying divination who are saying, 'The LORD declares,' when the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word. 7 "Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, 'The LORD declares,' but it is not I who have spoken?"'"


John Crowe said...

See my response to "Workers in the Kingdom -- Sightings"