By Moody Adams “According to the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, there are more than 600,000 ministers in the United States but only 338,000 churches” reports US Today. “Many of those are small churches that can't afford a full-time preacher. Among Presbyterians, there are four pastors looking for work for every one job opening.” The Fund for Theological Education says when they do find work they're paid less than other professionals, with starting salaries in the $30,000.
In the Tennessee Baptist Convention about 300 congregations are without a pastor while the state office has 700 resumes of pastors wanting churches.
The average church in the U.S. has 75 people, according to a Duke University study. The smaller churches cannot afford a full time pastor. This is not good for anyone except retired pastors who can serve churches on a salary that merely supplements their retirement.
Bob Whitesel, says churches are under tremendous pressure to attract new members. That means they are looking for pastors who have proven they can add new members. "Churches want to grow," he says. "And the pastors who get jobs are the ones who've shown they can grow churches."
The huge number of pastors looking for a church is depressing seminary enrollment, which is down about 6.4% since 2005.