The "call" has a price. A hefty one. Those that are called to carry, preach and teach the Gospel are fully aware of the weight that being called carries. Many of them, through formal training and education, are given tools to help navigate through the professional, administrative and spiritual side of Ministry.
But, I ask and wonder, what about when the benediction is given, when the church offices are closed, when church is over and everyone has gone to their respective houses - and the Pastor is left wounded, bruised and bloody (metaphorically speaking) in need of help and support. Who is looking out for the wounded Pastor? Some Pastors have pre-existing issues mental and physical maladies, pressures of ministry and lets not forget their family life. They have to wear many hats - many of which seminary, college, ministry training and classes simply did not prepare them for.
Recently, I came across some articles that spoke of the number of Pastors that had stepped down, closed their local churches or took extended sabbaticals. Since none of the articles gave the specifics of what demographic was polled in these surveys, I will not share any statistical information - however, I did notice something that was abundantly clear in article after article that I found. The top reasons why this increase of Pastors stepping down and stepping aside was an overwhelming result of: "burnout"/not enough help and mental illness (depression being at the top),
I have witnessed where it appears that being the Pastor sometimes poses the challenge that they "can't show weakness", so they continue to suffer in silence. While it is certainly true that prayer is the key component and firm foundation on which they must stand - it is also important to remember that human interaction and the ability to be vulnerable, honest and at liberty to release the weight and get the necessary mental and emotional help and healing is just as essential. We encourage people to be seen for our physical health, but when it comes to mental and emotional health, the stigma in the church is so burdensome - and it is even more so in the pulpit. So, as result, the "bleeding Pastor" bleeds on his/her "sheep" and the cycle of pain continues. Who is looking out for the wounded Pastor?
On September 22nd, PAYNE & Glory, Inc. will be hosting a private, Pastors Only Conclave during our annual Pain in the Pews: Mental Health and Ministry Conference. This will be a safe environment among like-minded peers to get information inspiration, support and relief. This event is free to attend - private registration will be available soon for Pastors to RSVP (or you can RSVP right here).
For every Pastor that is reading this, I want you to know that I want to be one of the ones that says, "I'm looking out for the wounded Pastor".
“Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)