Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Gary Bredfeldt


Ministers Forced termination, ministers voluntary resignation


Leadership Studies


The purpose of this quantitative descriptive research was to understand if seminary-related factors are behind 18,000-20,000 pastors experiencing forced termination or walking away from the church ministry each year. This study collected data in the quantitative form regarding the reasons behind the forced termination and voluntary resignations of full-time church ministers. The concerns driving this research are: Why are so many full-time ministers facing forced or voluntary termination? And are today’s seminaries preparing ministers to handle today’s church? The church is in a world that is continuously changing. These changes bring contemporary issues and ideas into the church, which can cause challenges in ministry. This study focused on Southern Baptist ministers and those with baptistic theology who are currently serving or who have served in a Southern Baptist church or a church with baptistic theology. Utilizing a quantitative survey design, the focus was on those who have experienced forced and voluntary termination, their reasons for termination, and their perceptions of the kind of leadership training received while in seminary. The results showed that there is a desire from ministers to address the need for seminaries to include leadership training. The results showed that seminaries do play a part in ministers experiencing a forced termination or voluntarily resigning because of the lack of leadership education but they are only a part of the challenge. Most ministers coming out of seminary say they wished for classes that would help them with the practical matters of working in a church.