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Why Your Pastor Left

Data, research, and stories about American pastoral decline.

Nine of ten ministers know three or more peers who've been forced out of pastoral positions.

A third of all pastors serve congregations who either fired the previous minister or actively forced their resignation.

At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit.

80% of them experience depression.

A quarter of all ministers have been fired at some point.

Eight of Ten churches who force our their pastor will do so again.

Two-thirds of ministers cite conflicts with powerful board members or parishioners as causes of termination.


Moments after our pastor exited the building that Sunday afternoon most of the congregation sat in shock. A tiny—but powerful minority wore victorious smiles at the ministers ousting.


One man looked confused. "Wait... what was I voting for?" Another commented, "A board member called me and told me how to vote--I didn't know it was for this!"

The lady to my left wept. Her pleading question kept me awake all night. “Why did our pastor have to leave?”


I also wanted answers, and began to research the problems ministers face; this book is filled with those discoveries.

American church decline has reached epidemic proportions and in the last century, church influence has waned nearly 60%. Pastoral attrition is either an indicator of that problem or a central part of it. Why Your Pastor Left presents detailed statistics and identifies the top ten “Ministry Killers” that cause pastoral stress and eventual “burnout.”

Disillusionment in Ministry
Abusive Leadership and Power Struggles
Ministry Incongruity, Ageism

Unclear or Bad Expectations

Money Issues


Respect and Boundaries

Calling, Growth, and Development

Grieving a Pastor's Wife

Living in a Fishbowl

Here are some comments from readers:

"Full of untouched upon truths that need to be confronted."

"Every pastor and church leader needs to read this book."

"Why Your Pastor Left isn't as much a descriptive narrative as it is a prophetic foretelling. Put simply, churches NEED the principles in this book in order to help the pastor grow, which in turn helps the church. Deacons, elders, *Board Members*, read this before you ever take office...Schmitz interlaces Biblical Biblical scholarship, hard-hitting statistics, and gut-wrenching anecdotes seamlessly to create a can't-put-it-down feeling."

"I got it at a critical time in my ministry! I'm still there and my problem isn't!"

"Mr. Schmitz really seems to understand the sad separation of church members from their appointed leaders, and where Godly principle ties in."

"This book by Christopher Schmitz forced me to take a long, hard look at my expectations of church and leadership."

Many of the statistics in this book come from research that is 20+ years old. There are very few recent studies on the topic of ministry/pulpit eviction. Without trying to reinvent the wheel or break new ground I have created an online survey that asks the same questions as the multiple studies cited within the book as a way to update those numbers for the future. Will you help add your experiences to the survey?

If you are/have been a vocational Christian pastor/minster or the wife of one, please click below to complete a brief survey.

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