There is a shortage of clergy, at least in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestant churches in
general are experiencing more of a distribution or placement challenge than a shortage. The
two greatest hindrances to addressing the Protestant clergy distribution challenge are a lack
of adequate compensation for clergy and the undesirable geographical location of a number
of churches, as perceived by clergy. Influences such as secularisation, duality of vocation, time
management, change in type of ministry, family issues, congregational and denominational
conflict, burnout, sexual misconduct, divorce or marital problems, and suicide, affect clergy.
Studies on the shortage of clergy have been conducted mostly in the USA and Europe and not
in South Africa. This article focuses on the research gap by means of a practical theological
grounded theory exploration of the exodus of clergy. Grounded theory methodology is used
to identify the reasons why clergy trained at a Bible college of a Protestant charismatic mega
church leave full-time pastoral ministry. Findings correspond to previous studies with two
reasons appearing more frequently than others: responding to a call and leadership related
issues. Firstly, respondents differed in their replies with respect to reconciling their exit from
full-time pastoral ministry with their call. The replies included not being called, a dual call, or
called but left anyway. Secondly, respondents indicated that leadership influence was mostly
negative with regard to affirming their call.
This article represents a
reworked version of aspects
from the PhD dissertation
(University of Pretoria, April
2013), with Prof. Dr Yolanda
Dreyer as supervisor.