In the current issue of Facts and Trends, Dr. Jimmy Draper, President of Lifeway, comments on a recent research report issued by Ellison Research on why Protestant ministers change jobs.
Among the study’s many findings is this: only 25% of Southern Baptist ministers attribute moving from one church ministry to another as a result of God’s call. Other reasons include wanting to live in a different community (30%) and wanting a larger church (22%). It is an interesting study and the research looks at more than just Southern Baptists.
Dr. Draper’s comments are worth repeating here:
Wanting a different community, a promotion and better pay are all legitimate reasons for job changes if you are in a corporate environment, but it is a dangerous trend for the pastoral ministry. I recommend to you an excellent and challenging book written by John Piper, titled Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, published by Broadman & Holman (2002). “The professionalization of the ministry … is a threat to the profoundly spiritual nature of our work,” Piper writes. “… The love of professionalism kills a man’s belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting, spiritual aliens in the world. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man.”
I say “Amen” to Dr. Draper’s recommendation. Get Dr. Piper’s book and read it. Or get it and give it to your favorite pastor. It is a great corrective to much that is wrong in contemporary approaches to pastoral ministry.