the shape of leadership

Moms with Young Kids Rare in Pastoral Ministry

Key statistical differences exist between men and women serving as pastors.

Influence Magazine on May 12, 2017

Seven in 10 moms in the U.S. with children under 18 participate in the workforce, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics. Yet there will be few examples of working moms in the pulpits this Mother’s Day.

According to a Barna report, only 67 percent of women pastors are married, though nearly all men serving as pastors have spouses (97 percent). And just 21 percent of women pastors have children under 18, compared to 36 percent of male pastors. The median age of women pastors is 56, two years older than the median age of their male peers.

When it comes to pastors balancing ministry and home life, women are much less satisfied than men. While 42 percent of male pastors say they have a better work-life balance than other U.S. pastors, only 24 percent of women pastors believe their work-life balance compares favorably to others. This reflects the disparity that exists in the U.S. workforce as a whole, where women are more likely than men to say juggling a home and career is challenging.

Women pastors are also more likely than male pastors to agree that they wish they had been better prepared for the demands and expectations of perfection that accompanied their ministry roles.

Among all working moms in the U.S. with children under 18, approximately 45 percent hold jobs in management, professional and related fields, and 28 percent are in sales and office occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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