Keeping Clergy’s Mentally Healthy
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for RENEWAL at Brookhaven Hospital
Clergy’s work 24/7 hours a week. Few take even one day off a week, and, even when they do, they will likely still get calls from the church.
Day in and day out is spent responding to congregation members and board demands. Sometimes clergy might neglect family time of their own, because of the financial and time stressors.
Sometimes clergy’s work a full time job outside of church responsibilities in order to make ends meet. Reason being that often times, they do not receive a salary, benefits or even a retirement pension plan from their church board.
Is it difficult for pastors to keep a healthy attitude? Churches can decrease mental health problems and boost their pastor’s morale by allowing them to be transparent. Allow them to receive counsel if they’re struggling at home or in meeting congregational demands. Churches have a big impact on their pastors’ mental health and over well-being.
Consider the following from the Duke study:
“[To] bolster Pastor Mental Health (PMH) optimally, congregations need to show support of their pastors to their pastors. Clergy who perceived their congregants to be highly critical and to make too many demands reported higher levels of NMH and lower ministerial satisfaction and quality of life…Congregants may be unaware of the effect they can have on their pastor’s mental health. Church committees might consider how to buffer these negative interactions, paired with ways to show appreciation for their clergy.”
Take time out and appreciate your pastor. Take them to lunch or host them at your dinner table. Not for a need of your own, but just to bless them and thank them for their devotion in serving as one of God’s appointed ministers.
Brookhaven Hospital Renewal Christian Care program is here to serve you. Our next pastoral seminar is scheduled for October 13th, 2016, when we will have a panel discussion on “Faith in the Line of Duty.” Please call 918.430.8350 to RSVP.