Pastors Say They Need to Develop Disciple-Making, Technology Skills

disciple making

The value pastors place on continuing to grow and invest in their skills shows the care they have for their role in leadership within the church.

Disciple making is the primary call of every pastor, and most recognize this as a skill they should continue to develop as church leaders.

According to the latest release in Lifeway Research’s 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors study, U.S. Protestant pastors say disciple making and technology are the two areas of skill development they most need to invest in to help hem be better pastors.

“These findings come in a season when pastors feel a spotlight on their ability to lead,” said Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources. “They’re getting more honest about how inadequate they feel. Many pastors fear at some point their perceived shortcomings are going to be on display for their flocks to see.”

Nearly 1 in 4 pastors (23%) say the overall category of skill development is the area most challenging for them or the one that requires the most attention compared to the six other categories covered in the Greatest Needs of Pastors study. More pastors say areas of skill development are their greatest need than any other category.

“The value pastors place on continuing to grow and invest in their skills shows the care they have for their role in leadership within the church,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.

Top Areas of Skill Development

For this study, Lifeway Research interviewed 200 U.S. Protestant pastors who identified 44 issues they face in their roles and then surveyed 1,000 additional pastors to determine which of these needs are most prevalent among pastors. 

The nearly four dozen needs were divided into seven categories: ministry difficulties, spiritual needs, mental challenges, personal life, self-care, people dynamics and areas of skill development.

Among the eight needs identified as areas of skill development, disciple making stands out above the rest, followed by technology. Nearly 2 in 3 pastors (63%) say disciple making is an area they need to invest in developing to help them be better pastors, and half (50%) point to technology.

“While pastors taking the survey were encouraged not to focus on COVID-19 in their responses, the recent experiences of many pastors likely influenced the prevalence of technology as a skill that needs more development today,” said McConnell. “In the spring of 2020, many churches moved rapidly to add streaming capabilities for their worship services. As technology met a need, many pastors realized there are other tools they haven’t used that may help them minister more effectively.”

Fewer than half of pastors (47%) identify leadership as a skill in which they need to invest. The percentage of pastors who say areas of communication (44%), counseling (44%) and administration (43%) are skills they need to further develop are similar. Fewer say they need to invest in conflict management or resolution (41%), while a third noted preaching (32%). Few pastors (5%) say none of these are areas of skill development they need to invest in currently.

First published on LifewayResearch.com. Used by permission.

From Outreach Magazine  Heart on the Run