Dealing with the Stress of Ministry

Dealing with the Stress of Ministry October 24, 2012

If Wayne Cordeiro says this, then it deserves consideration: “I wish this book had been written sooner.” Which book? That Their Work will be a Joy: Understanding and Coping with the Challenges of Pastoral Ministry  (ed. Cameron Lee and Kurt Fredrickson). Two parts to this book: the context of ministry and the principles. The Context involves discussion of the joy and burden of being a pastor, understanding stress and burnout, the real and the ideal congregations, and the calling and job of being a pastor.

Elder boards or deacon boards in churches need this book; they need to read it together and discuss it.

Seminarians need to read this book. There’s stuff in here just for you.

But here’s the major contribution of this book, a book born out of a groan, and here we need some pastors to weigh in:

What have you learned about stresses and burnout and how to deal with the challenges of ministering?

The authors propose five principles, and I leave them open for you to fill in the spaces — what would you say about each?

1. Pastors need to cultivate a sabbath heart:

2. Pastors need to take care of the body God gave them:

3. Pastors need to embrace wise limits:

4. Pastors need to nurture healthy relationships:

5. Pastors need to make the family a priority:

Then follows a bundle of “response letters,” including one from my colleague, David Fitch and his co-pastor, Matt Tebbe.

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