Culture: May 2006 Archives

Marc Driscoll has a post, Death by Ministry, which purports to point out some of the problems with burnout on the part of pastors. He gives some interesting and alarming statistics:

The following statistics were presented by Pastor Darrin Patrick from research he has gathered from such organizations as Barna and Focus on the Family.


Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

Pastors' Wives

Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
The majority of pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

His post has three parts, the first of which is these statistics, the second of which is "Some signs", and the third is "Some solutions". While I think most of his solutions are good, I am not sure I entirely agree with attributing all of these statistics and signs to burnout (or even with saying that they are sometimes due to burnout). But before I write any more on it, I wanted to solicit your comments. What do you think?

Adrian Warnock points out an interesting "pop quiz" on marriage. I have to admit, some of the answers are pretty surprising, if true. That is, if it's right, things aren't anywhere near as bad as I thought they were (although still pretty bad). Too bad it doesn't have links to all of the relevant evidence. I'm sure it would if it were a blog.

So, I just got an e-mail a few minutes ago that Skype is now allowing free "SkypeOut" calls anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, which means you can now use Skype to call any regular telephone in that region (or mobile phone) for free. I've used Skype before, but I was curious how well it worked (and never wanted to pay for the service in the past), so I just gave it a shot, and it works pretty well. The person on the other end heard a bit of an echo, and the quality wasn't quite as good as a telephone call for me, but it was better than I expected. I'll probably use it again in the future for long distance calls sometimes.

On a related note, though, I have both a Mac and a PC, and I've had occasion to compare the video capabilities of Skype (which aren't available on Mac yet) with that of iChat (on the Mac). The quality with iChat seems a lot better. Does anyone know what's going on behind the scenes? My guess is that Skype isn't using the full bandwidth it could, while iChat seems to be using a lot more bandwidth, but I'm not sure. Regardless, I am delighted with iChat and keep using it to have video meetings with folks at work and elsewhere, while Skype's video is a bit more of a pain to watch. While it's still better than no video, I'd hesitate to use it for a meeting.

I find it remarkable that after decades of predictions that video telephony was just around the corner, now it has finally arrived -- but it's over the Internet, and with relatively little hoopla. We had some relatives on the other coast get Skype so we could call and show them live video of us with our new baby, and they had no idea that such a thing was even possible until they saw it.



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