Monday, August 02, 2010

Clergy Burnout

This is especially for my Payne Theological Seminary students - because we spent last week together doing, among other things, combating ministry burnout by abiding in God's presence. Remember that Ps. 23 calls God the "restorer of our souls.

Please follow this link and read yesterday's timely (for us) nytimes article on clergey burnout. What we are doing together as a class combats clergy burnout. We are not going to be much good for God if we flame out.

The flame, the fire, is to be found in connecting with God's Spirit, in God's presence.

Here are some points and quotes from the nytimes article.

  • Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans.
  • In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen.
  • A Duke University study finds: "Compared with neighbors in their census tracts, the ministers reported significantly higher rates of arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. Obesity was 10 percent more prevalent in the clergy group."
  • Many pastors would change jobs if they could.
  • Many pastors have become unhealthy and unhappy.

  • Many pastors never take a day off, or take a vacation.
  • “Time away can bring renewal and help prevent burnout.”
  • There is "a growing counterculture among independent pastors who reject the constant-growth ethic that has contributed to the explosion of so-called mega-churches."
  • A contemplative lifestyle combats spiritual burnout.
To my Payne students: I am so thankful God placed you in my class, and that we are on this journey of renewal and restoration together!