A new poll revealed that over half of America's pastors said they struggle to avoid feeling overworked and overcommitted.

Last week, Lifeway Research released the results of a new survey conducted on 1,000 Protestant pastors, asking them how they felt about their jobs and other responsibilities. The poll found that most American pastors or 55% said they find it challenging to avoid being overworked and overcommitted, while almost half or 47% said it was challenging to allot time for hobbies or interests unrelated to their job. One-fourth said they needed more time for their marriage and family.

According to the Christian Headlines, the poll found that 59% of pastors said it was challenging to consistently exercise, raising concerns about not having time to attend to their physical health. Also ranking high in the survey among health concerns was eating right, which 49% of pastors responded to, and consistently resting, cited by 45% of pastors. These were the results when pastors were asked to select "all the aspects of self-care that you find challenging in your ministry as a pastor."

"While most pastors are quick to say they have several challenges in caring for themselves, they are also quick to prioritize ministry needs ahead of their own," Lifeway Research executive director Scott McConnell said. He explained further, "Among categories that need attention today, almost two-thirds of pastors put skills, people or ministry difficulties ahead of their own self-care."

The Lifeway Research director added, "Constantly working from a physical deficit is not a sustainable formula for pastoral ministry."

When asked which aspects of their personal life "need attention or investment today," 51% of surveyed pastors cited time management, while 43% cited balancing life between home and work. Moreover, the Lifeway Research poll found that 29% cited children, 26% cited marriage, and 23% responded with caring for aging parents.

McConnell clarified that the pastors were not being asked if the aforementioned areas of personal life mattered, rather if those areas "needed additional focus today." Highlighting the importance of finding a balance between work and life, McConnell said, "Nowhere is it more likely than personal life, for a need to emerge for a pastor because they are giving attention elsewhere."

The results of this survey echo the feelings of many pastors across America today. Premier Christianity reported in March that according to the Living Leadership director and author of "Powerful Leaders? When church leadership goes wrong and how to prevent it" Marcus Honeysett estimated that about 40% to 45% of pastors are experiencing burnout even before the COVID pandemic began two years ago.

"What I've discovered from speaking with pastors and experts is that burnout was prevalent before 2020. Covid simply pushed many over the precipice," Megal Cornwell wrote in the report. "Perhaps the answer to the problem of burnout lies somewhere between increased spiritual discipline and decreased activity."

Cornwell reported that Sean Nemecek, an author and podcaster, suggested prioritizing time with God, which then "provides pastors with a greater ability to discern which activities to say yes to and which to say no to."