Ministering to Ministers: Taking Care of the Caretakers

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There is a growing interest in the health of our ministers. Over the last few years I have seen this conversation crop up in several significant places. I believe this is the case because there are many ministers who are either facing burnout or who want to prevent ever getting to that place.

There are a few places I am seeing this resurgence of interest. First is personal experience. The more ministers I talk with the more we see the need for self-care and discuss what we do to fill our cup back up. Ministers are seeking out groups of other ministers to spend time with and to decompress, get encouragement and spiritual formation through informal regional minister gatherings. Second, I see it in the lectureships. The Pepperdine Bible lectures, which concluded on Friday, had quite a few offerings on ministerial health. Maybe I just noticed it more because this is on my mind but I don’t think so. Third is Barna group. Barna recently partnered with Pepperdine to create a study called “State of Pastors.” Part of that study compared the health of ministers in Churches of Christ to ministers in other churches.

There is a growing interest in this area because there is a growing need in this area. We ministers feel the need to take better care of ourselves. We take care of others and often we are the last to take care of ourselves. Health ministry needs healthy ministers. We feel it. Our families feel it. Our churches feel the cost of ministers who need to spend some time in self-care. It is time we do something about it.

This month’s issue of Wineskins will focus on ministerial self-care. As part of this discussion I am going to be releasing the results of a study that I did of the health of ministers in Churches of Christ, part of which I presented at the Pepperdine lectures. Some of the results are hopeful and other parts show some places where we need to make some improvements. Last, the study not only showed areas of strength and weakness but also assessed practices that can help or hinder one’s health as a minister. I look forward to sharing the results of that study. I found it eye opening and I believe you will as well.


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