Pastor Study: Struggling with Finances? You’re Not Alone! (Part 1 of 3)

Surviving the recent tax season can be stressful and it reminds us just how well, or how poorly, we have done in managing our finances.

We don’t want to just struggle to make ends meet while in full-time ministry. We want to look at what the average pastor is doing in regards to their finances — and choose to do the opposite.

That’s why I just had to share with you the findings of a recent pastor study conducted by the Assemblies of God. It was a broad scale survey of over 6,800 AG ministers that offered a real glimpse into their personal finances. No matter what denomination you are in, you will find this survey relevant and very revealing.

  • MANY MINISTERS ARE NOT PREPARED FOR RETIREMENT – 27% had NO retirement savings. Of those who did start saving, 50% had less than $19,000 put away. For those ministers over the age of 60 and nearing retirement, 50% of them have less than $65,000 saved for retirement.
  • MANY MINISTERS ARE NOT PREPARED FOR UNEXPECTED EXPENSES – For those who had non-retirement savings, 50% had less than $2,000. 33% of ministers had no personal savings at all. If they suddenly faced an unexpected $10,000 expense, two-thirds of ministers wouldn’t have available savings to cover
  • MOST MINISTERS ARE ENCUMBERED BY DEBT – 86% of ministers carry some type of debt, like mortgage, school loans, medical, and credit card debt. The non-mortgage debt averaged almost $40,000. We’re carrying around a full year’s salary worth of debt!
  • THE STATE OF THEIR PERSONAL FINANCES – 26% of ministers have significant concerns about their finances and would categorize their financial situation as shaky, which grew to 36% for those ministers under age 45. And 40% of ministers did not have confidence that their financial situation would improve in the next ten years.

So . . . how are you doing? Do you feel like one of these statistics? Maybe you’re currently living with very little margin and don’t feel confident about your current situation.

The good news is you can take responsibility for your own finances and start making changes to better your financial future.

Join me next week as I offer some time-tested and helpful tips on how to improve your finances.

Your partner in ministry,


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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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