# The Pastors. Figure 4.15 Current Age Distribution of Pastors (n = 418)

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1 64 The Pasrs The first series of research questions (RQ1 - RQ5) focus on constructing a background profile of the pasr. The first research query (RQ1) studies the impact of age in the areas of conversion and pasring. Responses the questions about the pasrs yielded very interesting data. The current average age of Costa Rican pasrs is 41.5 years. The median average age (Md) is 4 years old and the most common mentioned age (Mo) was 39 years. The oldest respondent the survey was eighty-two (82) years old and the youngest was eighteen (18). The table below shows the distribution of the ages of the pasrs. Figure 4.15 Current Age Distribution of Pasrs (n = 418) 1 1 Number of Responses Present Age Most Costa Rican pasrs (31.3%) became Christians when they were between sixteen and twenty (16-) years old. Thus Jorge Gomez conclusion that this group be targeted for special evangelistic efforts (Gomez, ) is reinforced by the fact that this age level is when most of the current Costa Rican pasrs made their own decisions

2 65 follow Christ. The oldest conversion recorded in the data occurred at age 56 years old while the youngest occurred at age two (see Figure 4.16). Figure 4.16 Age at Conversion, Costa Rican Pasrs (n = 49) Frequency Age of Conversion The most often mentioned age of conversion was at age twenty (). An interesting phenomenon related the age of the pasrs conversion was that there was a significant number (f.= 154 or 37.7%) who became Christians in their twenties (21-3 years). Combining the pasrs who became Christians in their teens with those who did so in their twenties accounts for 69% of the pasrs. The average age of conversion for the research was 22.3 years. This study found that 92.1% of pasrs have served in their present church for ten years or less. Sixty-seven percent (67%) have served four years or less. Many respondents (f. = 124 or 3.6%) had served one two years in their churches. Another 19.3% (f. = 78) indicated that they had only been in their present church assignment for

3 66 months. These data indicate that pasrs generally serve in their churches for short periods of time and do not have a tendency pasr one church all their lives (see Figure 4.17). Figure 4.17 Length of Time in Present Church (n = 45) Days Weeks Months Other Number of Responses Length of Time in Present Church (Years) The most churches that any one person had pasred were fourteen (14). This person was 23 years old when he became a Christian, is presently 52 and has been pasring for 28 years. This means that he was 24 years old when he pasred his first church. In other words, he had been a Christian for only one year before beginning pasr. Having pasred 14 churches in 28 years makes his average length of stay in a church two years. He has been serving in his present church assignment for three years. Data gathered on the number of years the respondents have served in the pasrate showed that 49.9% had been pasring for eight years or less. Another 41.4% had been pasrs for nine twenty years. Only 8.7% of respondents have been pasring for more than twenty-one years. The fact that almost 5% of pasrs have served for eight years or

4 67 less and that 41.7% have served nine twenty-one years, shows that there is a good crop of young pasrs who have come out of the rapid church growth experienced between This could mean that there is a good pool of young pasrs for the development of strong churches and good prospects for the advancement of more church growth in the future (see Figure 4.18). Figure 4.18 Years in Pasrate (n = 45) No. of Responses Starting Months Number of Years By subtracting the average time the respondents have been in the pasrate (1.89 years) from their current age (41.56) we see that the respondents began pasring churches at an average age of 3.7. If the average age of when most of the respondents became Christians (22.3) is subtracted we can see that there is a period of approximately 8.4 years when the future pasrs are being formed for ministry. This period is critical in the life of future ministers. Leaders and pasrs should pay particular attention the kind of discipleship given young men (and women) in this age bracket in terms of their

5 68 development in Bible knowledge and discipleship practices. The research indicated that 32% of pasrs are serving in their first pasrate, 21% are in their second, 17% are in their third while 3% are pasring the church which is their fourth (or more) pasrate (see Figure 4.19). Figure 4.19 Number of Churches Pasred (n = 379) Number of Responses Number of Churches The religious orientation of the pasrs family backgrounds were queried in the research. Eighty-three percent (83%) of the pasrs were born in Catholic homes, while eleven point five percent (11.5%) came from evangelical households. Another five point five percent (5.5%) came from other backgrounds. This is similar the results found in the 1996 La Nacion study showing that the general Costa Rican population was 78.8% Catholic, 12.2% non-catholic, and 8.9% were of other religious persuasions. Figure 4. Pasral Home Background (n = 416)

6 69 Other 6% Evangelical 12% Catholic 82% In order construct an accurate picture of the financial profile of the pasrs it is necessary identify the salary range of the pasrs, the source of income, whether the pasrs participate in the Social Security program of the government, if they owned their own home, and if the pasrs have a pension plan. Salary figures provided by Costa Rican evangelical pasrs show that 65.9% of the pasrs are making US\$37. or less a month and that 34.2% make \$38. or more. A significant percentage (16.7%) make \$12. or less a month, which is below the official Costa Rican poverty line.

7 7 Table 4.4 Pasral Salary Range (n = 395) Amount Colones Amount USD* No. of Pasrs Percent -25, -\$ % 26,-35, \$13-\$ ,-45, \$144-\$ ,-55, \$185-\$ ,-65, \$226-\$ ,-75, \$267-\$ ,-9, \$38-\$ , + \$ Total 395 1% *Exchange rate = 245 colones one dollar (USD) As mentioned in Chapter One, the average salary for a Costa Rican Social Service worker according the Ministry of Economy is \$ per month and the minimum wage for workers generally is \$ If we apply these figures the income of the pasrs we find that at least 34.5% of the pasrs are receiving less than minimum wage. On the other end of the scale, there are a significant number of pasrs (f.= 94 or 23.8%) that have monthly income in excess of \$369. per month, which is more in line with the average for Community Service worker. Figure 4.21

8 71 Salary levels (n = 395) No. of Pasrs \$12 \$13-\$143 \$144-\$184 \$185-\$225 \$226-\$266 \$267-\$37 \$38-\$368 \$369 + Monthly Salary Range Regarding the source of the pasrs income, 66.5% said that it came directly from the ministry itself and not from any other sources. Another 13.7% reported that it came from secular work and 2.1% marked other. Seventy-two (72) out of 41 (17.7%) indicated that their income came from both the ministry and secular sources. These data indicate that approximately one-third of pasrs are bi-vocational. Figure 4.22 Pasr Salary Source (n = 41) Both 18% Other 2% Secular 14% Ministry 66% Data from the survey found that seventy-three percent (73%) of pasrs have

9 72 some form of social security (which in Costa Rica is more than an old age pension but also includes medical benefits), yet over a quarter (27%) do not. Fewer pasrs (62%) own their own homes while 38% do not. Very few pasrs (32%) belonged a denomination that provided a pension program. This means that 68% of the pasrs surveyed have no retirement plan other than social security. Ninety-four percent (94%) of the pasrs surveyed have completed primary school, which covers grades 1-6 in Costa Rica. Only 34.2% however, have completed high school. Thirty-three percent (33%) of the pasrs have completed some form of Bible Institute training, while only 12% have earned a university degree. There were thirty responses (7.3%) marking other educational programs. Of those who indicated the nature of other education, three wrote Docrate, one wrote Masters, and one wrote Commercial. This shows that while almost all pasrs have a basic education, a great many, 65.8%, have not completed high school and only a few (12%) have earned a university degree (see Figure 4.23). Figure 4.23 Pasr s Educational Level (n = 49) Frequency Primary High School Bible Institute Seminary University Other Type of Education When asked elaborate on where the pasrs had studied, for how long and at what level, the response rate was 72.6% (n = 313). One hundred eighty-four (184) or

10 % of the pasrs named an institution where they had done theological studies. The majority were institutions in Costa Rica, but there were three responses naming institutions outside the country. The institutions in Costa Rica most often mentioned were; ESEPA (Bible Church Seminary, f.= 3), CEFON (Church of God, f.= 24), Methodist Seminary (f.= 21), IBAD (Assembly of God Bible Institute, f.= 16), and Elim Bible Institute (f.= 13). The institutions mentioned outside of Costa Rica were Asbury Seminary (f.= 1), Columbia International University (f.= 1), and Fuller Seminary (f.= 1). Of the 184 pasrs who indicated a place of study 4.6% (f.= 43) attended a Bible institute, 51.9% attended a seminary, and 7.5% attended a university. There were 167 responses (53.3%) regarding the length of time pasrs had been involved in theological studies. The majority of the pasrs (f.= 96 or 57.5%) that responded this item had studied four years or less, 21.6% had been studying five eight years, eight pasrs (4.8%) for nine years or more. Eleven (6.6%) said they had studied for various years, and sixteen (9.6%) said they had had no studies. In thirty responses (17.9%) it was obvious that the pasrs were presently involved in some theological classes (see Figure 4.24). Figure 4.24 Years of Theological Studies (n = 167)

11 Frequency Zero Various Number of Years Fifty-eight pasrs indicated the level of theological studies they had reached or were presently involved in completing a program of study. Most pasrs (6.3%) had completed or were involved in theological studies that were at or below the Diploma level of education while 34.5% were studying or had completed studies at a Bachelor Docral level. Table 4.5 Level of Education (n = 58) Level Responses Percent Certificate 3 5.2% High School % Diploma % Bachelor 12.7% Master 5 8.6% Docral 3 5.2% When asked where the pasrs would go find help in the areas of evangelism and discipleship most (f.= 159) mentioned that they would look their own denomination. Within their own denominations the majority (f.= 27) mentioned consulting their supervisors although others (f.= ) stated they would consult with their denomination s national office or with their churches (f.= 14). Other significant answers

13 76 there were two kinds of answers. One set of answers was focused geographically. Here, as with the question on their missionary vision, the majority of pasrs indicated that their ministry vision was aimed at reaching Costa Rica for Christ. Of the seventy-six geographical responses, fifty-five mentioned something that indicated a national focus. Several pasrs (f.= 21) mentioned that their ministry focus was the world, or reaching the nations. Top priority among those with a national perspective was the health of their own churches (35 of 55 responses). More than a third of these pasrs ( of 55), however, mentioned that their ministry visions were oriented ward their communities or the country as a whole. The second category of answers revolved around the common phrases used describe the pasr s ministry vision. Here the most common phrase used was save souls (f.= 65). Other descriptive phrases included pasring or pasral work (f.= 43), evangelizing and discipling (f.= 41), resration (f.= 25), and planting new churches (f.= 21). According the pasrs, the greatest need of their congregations was have a greater commitment Christ. Financial problems were the second most commonly marked need, followed by family problems, Bible training, spiritual nurturing, and prayer (cf. Figure 4.26). Figure 4.26 Congregational Needs (n = 45)

14 Commit Economic Frequency Family Bible Spiritual Prayer Academic Other The greatest obstacle church growth is the problem of conflicts and divisions in the church (f.= 176). A close second was the churches failure evangelize sufficiently (f.= 169), followed by a lack of personal attention the church members and discipleship (f.= 18). Far behind in response ratings were the conduct and testimonies of the leaders (f.= 69), sexual sins (f.= 52), programs that were not meeting needs (f.= 43), and o much lerance for people that sin (f.= 37). Given that the main obstacles that keeps people from identifying with the evangelical churches was the bad testimony of believers and that the number one obstacle church growth is conflict within the church, pasrs need know not only how disciple people, but also how resolve conflicts. Figure 4.27 Obstacles Church Growth (n = 335)

15 Frequency Conflicts Not Evang. Lack Attention Leaders Sexual Programs Tolerance of Sin Other Respondents suggested some pasrs have left the pasrate because of their own bad conduct (f.= 137) and personal problems (f.= 113). Other suggested causes of pasral attrition included lack of support from believers (f.= 73), lack of support from superiors (f.= 63), conflicts in the church that were not their fault (f.= 48), and lack of commitment (f.= 36). Also mentioned were adultery, financial needs, burn-out, isolation, health problems, bad conflict management, and the pasr being treated as just an object. Recalling that one of the main reasons pasrs fail in ministry was because of personal problems, it is satisfying see that most pasrs feel that they have menrs. Nevertheless, there may be a breakdown in the process if the pasrs do not actually go their menrs in times of trouble. Figure 4.28 Why Pasrs Leave (n = 335)

16 Frequency Bad Conduct Personal Help Attention Conflicts Commitment Other Summary From the information gathered through the questionnaire we can now construct a profile of the Costa Rican evangelical pasr. The prominent characteristics of such a profile would include the following elements. The average age of the pasrs surveyed was 41.6 years. The average age of conversion was 22.3 years. The most often mentioned age of conversion was years. 37.7% became Christians in their teens. 31.3% became Christians in their twenties. 83% of the pasrs came from Catholic homes, 11.5% from evangelical backgrounds, and 5.5% other. The pasrs were an average of 3.7 years old when they began in the pasrate. Pasrs have been serving an average of 1.9 years. There were 8.4 years between the pasrs conversion and his beginning pasr.

17 8 The pasrs have served in an average of 2.9 churches. The average number of years in each church is 3.7 years. 76.2% of the pasrs receive less than \$369. per month % of the pasrs receive less than \$ per month % of pasrs receive their salary from ministry only % of pasrs receive their salary from secular sources only % of pasrs receive their salary from both sources. The greatest needs of the pasrs are in the areas of finances and academic preparation. The greatest obstacles church growth are church conflict and failure evangelize. Most pasrs leave the pasrate because of bad personal conduct, personal problems, or lack of support by believers. Educational characteristics of the pasrs: 94% completed grade school. 34% completed high school. 33% completed Bible institute. 12% completed university. 3.6% completed seminary. 4.6% have been/ are in a Bible institute. 51.9% have been/ are in seminary. 7.5% have been/ are in university. 17.9% are currently studying.

18 81 6% are studying at Diploma level and 35% are studying at Bachelor level or above. Having formed a general profile of the Costa Rican evangelical pasr we can now begin build a profile of the ministry realities that the pasrs face in their work of leading their churches. At this point, the database will be segmented by the location of the church served, rural and urban. From the analysis of these data, differences in the opinions and worldviews of rural pasrs as opposed those of urban pasrs can be presented.

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