It Can Be Lonely Behind the Pulpit
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for Renewal at Brookhaven Hospital
Mental health professionals will encounter clergy among the clients they treat within their practice. The pressure from society in meeting the needs of their congregation as well as feeling inadequate can overwhelm a minster. Some ministers suppress their feelings and do not seek help because they may feel shame, or think that they have failed God in their calling. We need to remind ourselves that we are not the “Savior” but instruments used to bring restoration to those who are hurting.
When pastors are struggling, they are most likely not being transparent with their congregation or board of directors. This is harmful, and a disservice to their community.
Leo Christie, PhD, LMFT, says 70% of pastors are so stressed and burned out that they regularly consider leaving the ministry.
As carriers of the gospel ministry, God expects us to take time for ourselves and go before him for guidance. At times, we need additional help to obtain knowledge and wisdom in order to address those things that interfere with what we are called to do.
Silent depression among the clergy is the number one killer. For pastors, treatment can come at a high price. Experts at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary recommends that “pastors can help prevent depression by engaging in intentional replenishment weekly or monthly, confiding in their spouse and seeking spiritual direction with another pastor who ministers to them.”
Brookhaven Hospital’s Renewal Christian Care program is here to serve you. Our next Pastoral Seminar will be on February 11th, 2016. Dr. Bucker from Oral Roberts University with a presentation on understanding the complex factors that cause stress and depression in clergy, along with recommendations for prevention and treatment. Please call 918- 430 8350 to reserve your spot!