The Definitive Statistical Pastoral Ranking Guide


If you’re a sports fan, you know that in the past decade teams have begun relying heavily on advanced metrics to determine how good players are.

Instead of relying on simple things like batting average, home runs, and steals, they rely on things like OPS (on base percentage + slugging) and VORP (value over replacement player).

These stats let teams make better judgments about how good players really are, rather than relying on gut feelings.

Unfortunately, churches don’t have any such advanced metrics for evaluating pastors. If a church wants a new pastor, they have to hire based on whether a guy feels right, has a clean criminal record, agrees doctrinally, and all that jazz.

I’m going to change that.

Ladies and gents, I present to you the first ever statistical pastoral ranking guide. No more gut feelings. No more puzzled search committees. From now on, you can determine exactly how high a pastor should be ranked.

This is all you need to know.

Below, you’ll find the stats, followed by an explanation. Prepare to have your mind blown.

Stat #1: General Coolness Factor (GCF) = (Plaid Shirts + Ties) – (Tattoos + Piercings) / (Sundays Shirt Is Tucked In + Dad Jokes Per Sermon)

This is the “it” factor that, previously, was always undefined. A guy with a high GCF is ideal for churches with names that sound like snowboard companies or punk bands. Element MaTRIX Church. Tri Fire. Imago Mosaic Church.

A guy with a low GCF is better suited for First Church of Something Boring.


Stat #2: Heresy Tendency (HT) = Rob Bell Books + Denominational Background + Total Number of Prayer Mazes + Preference For Incense

This statistic predicts the odds of a man embracing heresy. Every denomination is given a weighted score (PCUSA = 10, Unitarian = 50, Southern Baptist = 3, etc.). This, plus the number of times the guy has gone through prayer mazes plus the amount of Rob Bell books he owns is a pretty solid predictor of heretical tendencies.

When you throw in an affinity for incense, you might as well say, “Farewell.”

A guy with a high score is likely to go off the rails pretty quickly. He also probably drinks kombucha and wears rompers.

Stat #3: New Calvinishness Ratio (NCR) = (Beard Length + Cigars Per Week + Craft Beers Instagrammed Per Week) x (Puritan Books / Brennan Manning Books)

Just how New Calvinist is your pastor? This is your go-to statistic. The higher the ratio, the more hardcore Calvinist he is. This is the kind of guy who prays toward The Gospel Coalition headquarters and has asked John Piper into his heart.

On the other hand, a low number usually indicates a guy who would be more comfortable singing “Oceans” every week.

Stat #4: Overal Doctrinal Value (ODV) = (Scriptures Per Sermon – Kanye References Per Sermon) + (Expositional Sermons – Sermons Based On Movies)

The higher this number, the more your guy cares about doctrine. If his ODV is high, he’s the kind of guy who spends 12 years preaching through Romans and photoshops John MacArthur into his family portraits.

On the other hand, a man with a low ODV tends to preach sermons with titles like “50 Shades Of Pray” and “Better Call Solomon”.

Stat #5: Prosperity Propensities (PP) = Total Square Feet of House / (Bicep Diameter + Times Teeth Whitened + Hours In Tanning Bed)

Is a guy going to step into the pulpit every week and tell you to name it and claim it? Is he going to show up on a reality TV show? You can solve this mystery by calculating his overall prosperity propensities.

A pastor with a high score usually looks like Channing Tatum, while a guy with a low score is much closer to Steve Buscemi.

Stat #6: Fundamentalist Ratio (FR) = Rock Albums Owned / (KJV Bibles + Suits Worn Per Year) 

The lower the ratio, the more likely your pastor believes that drums are of the devil, dancing is for demonic orgies, and anything other than the KJV might as well be the Koran.

On the other hand, a guy with a really high ratio is more likely to cuss, smoke cigarettes, and talk about Dropkick Murphys concerts during his sermon.

If the ratio ends up being 0/0, there’s a good chance you’re interviewing a monk or possibly a homeless person.

Stat #7: General Weirdness Factor (GWF) = Inches Of Given Personal Space + Puppets Owned + Elvish Words Known + General Handsiness

Have you ever met a pastor who gave you the willies? You know…just kind of weird? Holds handshakes a little too long, converses about 4 inches from your face, occasionally talks in strange voices?

He probably had a high GWF. This is a key calculation for search committees to evaluate. If they hire a guy with a high GWF, church members won’t feel comfortable around him although they won’t be able to say exactly why.

Now you know why.

Your Future Is Clear

In the past, you had to rely on messy, imprecise methods for determining whether a pastor would be a good fit for your church. No longer. Now you can run every guy through these calculations and determine exactly how well he would fit in your church.

Ladies and gentleman, this is the future.

You’re welcome.

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Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer, & Mixed Martial Arts Salsa Dancing Champion. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook