Sustainability and Preventing Pastoral Dropout

Sustainability and Preventing Pastoral Dropout

Why do so many Aussie pastors dropout from the human services industry? Through a phenomenological study of burnout experiences, Keith Mitchell proposes that the key to sustainability is the development of emotional intelligence.

Full Title : Sustainability and Preventing Dropout in the Human Services Industry: A Study of Pastors in the Australian Context


The sustainability and prevention of dropout in workers serving in the human services industry is a challenge, particularly for pastors. This study presents research utilising Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to unearth themes of sustainability and the prevention of dropout regarding pastors serving in church-based ministry within Australia. The results of this research show convergence and divergence in various features surrounding social support, emotionality, conflict, spiritual expression, and spousal relationships. After analysis of these themes, this study proposes that the key to sustainability and preventing dropout in pastors is the development of emotional intelligence (EI). The study concludes that people assisting pastors in this vocational area be attentive to developing EI.


Keith is an adult educator who teaches pastoral and practical theological studies at Morling Theological College, Sydney. His doctoral studies have been in the area of developing leadership sustainability and resilience in pastors and preventing their dropout. Besides enabling people to become reflective practitioners, Keith has a focus on ensuring awareness and insight are developed in people for effective living and service of Jesus. He lives on the Central Coast, north of Sydney, and is married to a beautiful wife with four wonderful children.

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