Episode 065

Pastors’ Needs & Gambling

Apr 1, 2022

Churchgoers may think their church leaders have it all together spiritually, but pastors admit they have room to grow. Why do so many people gamble their money away? Barrett Duke offers a few answers.


Churchgoers may think their church leaders have it all together spiritually, but pastors admit they have room to grow.

In the latest release of Lifeway Research’s 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors study, most U.S. Protestant pastors say they need to personally invest in seven different spiritual needs.

One in 20 pastors (5 percent) say their own spiritual needs is the area most challenging for them or the one that requires the most attention compared to the six other categories covered in the Greatest Needs of Pastors study.

Twelve-hundred pastors were surveyed. More than 7 in 10 pastors (72 percent) say consistency in personal prayer is important, which also makes it one of the top needs of pastors overall. Similar percentages of pastors say it’s vital in their lives to invest in friendships and fellowship with others (69 percent) and to focus on consistency of Bible reading not related to sermon or teaching preparation (68 percent).

White pastors are among those most likely to say they need to give attention to developing a consistency in taking a Sabbath (18 percent). Mainline pastors (26 percent) are also more likely than evangelical pastors (14 percent) to say Sabbath consistency is most important for them.

African American pastors are among the most likely to say they need to place a priority on trusting God (28 percent). Older pastors, those 65 and older, are the age demographic most likely to say trusting God is the most important priority for them (29 percent).

Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway, says he’s optimistic about the future church ministry of those pastors who recognize their spiritual needs and take action to meet them.

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In a First Person piece on Baptist Press, Barrett Duke writes, “It is estimated that Americans lost $161 billion to all forms of gambling in 2018, with $306 million of that going to online gambling.”

He says, “71 percent of Americans believing that gambling is morally acceptable, and only 36 percent of Christians believing that sports betting is morally wrong, it is clear that America has a gambling problem.”

Why do so many people gamble their money away?

Duke offers a few answers.

He believes some people gamble because they believe they can make money.

Some gamble for entertainment.

Some gamble to feel important.

No matter the reason, though, Duke writes, “There is more to be said about gambling, yet regardless of why someone gambles, God is the better choice. Gambling is a false idol. It destroys, perverts, and lies to people who look to it for anything. The true source of happiness and meaning in life is found in God.”

Read his full piece at BaptistPress.com.

Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.

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