According to a new Lifeway Research survey of today’s ministers’ needs and concerns, pastors in the United States say their greatest need is the desire to develop leaders and volunteers within the church.

According to the poll, “developing leaders and volunteers” is at the top of the list of needs among American Protestant pastors, with 77 percent identifying it as an issue that needs to be addressed in their church. “Facilitating connections with unchurched people” (76 percent) and “people’s apathy or lack of commitment” (76 percent) were not far behind (75 percent).

In total, 17 needs in the survey were identified by the majority of pastors as items that must be addressed. It was part of the 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors research project.

“The pre-existing challenges of ministry have been exacerbated by COVID, and it’s critical that we lean in and listen closely to pastors,” said Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway Christian Resources. “This project has shed light on critical needs they have, and it will point the way forward in how we partner with them to fuel their ministries and improve their health in a variety of ways.”

Other needs identified by the majority of pastors were as follows:

Personal prayer consistency is 72%.

Friendships and fellowship with others account for 69% of the total.

68 percent of current leaders and volunteers are being trained.

68 percent of people read the Bible on a regular basis for reasons other than sermon or teaching preparation.


Sixty-four percent of pastors have relationships with other pastors.

Sixty-four percent of people consistently observe the Sabbath.

63% of people are stressed.

Personal discipline

61 percent confessed and repented of personal sin.
59 percent of the time, I exercise consistently.
55 percent avoid over-commitment and over-work.
55 percent of the time, people are challenged in areas where they lack obedience.
51 percent of the time.
“The number and breadth of needs that pastors are currently confronted with is mind-boggling,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “… It is clear that pastors are not looking for shortcuts and take their roles as spiritual leaders in their churches seriously.”