Doctor of Ministry

Year Approved


First Advisor

Tatum, Jordan


There is a lack of understanding of what factors are contributing to pastoral attrition in the Assemblies of God. In response to this problem, the researcher investigated the ministry and training of Moses and Paul. The researcher studied relevant literature on pastoral attrition, and then conducted quantitative and qualitative research to identify key factors that contribute to pastoral attrition. The researcher focused on the attrition rate of graduates of NCU’s pastoral degree program in the years 1998-2008. This is the researcher’s alma mater. The researcher interviewed three NCU professors who were training pastors during that time period, three of the researcher’s former NCU classmates, and three experts in pastoral emotional health and restoration. Lastly, the researcher brought together the findings from the literature, data, and interviews to make recommendations to address pastoral attrition. The researcher discovered that the rate of pastoral attrition across the United States is high, with four out of five pastors leaving ministry within the first five years. The researcher studied data from the Assemblies of God national office and determined that their attrition rate is much lower. However, this rate has been steadily increasing each year since 2016. One-third of AG pastors reported that they would ask for help from their District officials in a crisis. Fewer women ministers felt comfortable asking their District for help. The key risk factors for pastoral attrition were identified as loneliness and isolation, a poor marriage, a moral failure, unresolved conflicts, low maturity and emotional health, unrealistic expectations, and the use of negative coping mechanisms. The researcher recommended more proactive district interventions, including implementing a conflict management team and a cohort model for their pastors. The researcher also recommended that Bible colleges add emotional health and conflict management to their pastoral training programs.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Document Type

Doctoral thesis