- Church-related ministry is dangerous territory
- 14.1 Truth be known, people who are moving into church-related ministry are venturing
into dangerous territory.
14.2 New York Times article, August 1, 2010, entitled,
Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work
14.2.1 The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with
little notice: 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. Many would change jobs if they could.
1. Recognize why church-related ministry is dangerous territory and the pastoral ministry realities. (Sect. 14 &
2. Explain (in 4 paragraphs) the six aspects of our assuming responsibility for soul care in our relationship
with God; two of the paragraphs should explain the concept of "doing" vs. "being." (Sect. 15)
3. Recognize what spiritual formation is and things to remember as we think about spiritual formation.
(Sect. 17.4 & 17.5)
4. Explain (in 3 paragraphs) the seven aspects of how spiritual formation is the process of becoming like
Christ. (Sect. 18)
5. Recognize why spiritual formation is important. (Sect. 20)
6. Recognize the explanation of Dallas Willard’s VIM acronym for moving into the spiritual formation
process. (Sect. 21.1)
14.2.2 But while research continues, a growing number of health care experts and religious
leaders have settled on one simple remedy that has long been a touchy subject with many
clerics: taking more time off.
14.2.3 The Lilly Endowment, a philanthropic foundation based in Indiana, has awarded grants of
up to $45,000 each to hundreds of Christian congregations in the past few years, under a
project called the National Clergy Renewal Program, for the purpose of giving pastors
14.2.4 Clergy health studies say that many clerics have "boundary issues" — defined as being
too easily overtaken by the urgency of other people’s needs.
14.2.5 In May, the Clergy Health Initiative, a seven-year study that Duke University began in
2007, published the first results of a continuing survey of 1,726 Methodist ministers in North
Carolina. 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.
14.2.6 The results echoed recent internal surveys by the
Evangelical Lutheran Church
America, which found that 69 percent of its ministers reported being overweight, 64 percent
having high blood pressure and 13 percent taking antidepressants
14.2.7 A 2005 survey of clergy by the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church also took
special note of a quadrupling in the number of people leaving the profession during the first
five years of ministry, compared with the 1970s.
126.96.36.199 "The pressures in ministry are enormous, the demands are increasing, and the
satisfaction diminishing. How can we expect to remain full of creative vitality, of zeal
for the Word of God, of desire to serve, and of motivation to inspire our often numbed
congregations? Where are we supposed to finds nurture and strength? How can we
alleviate our own spiritual hunger and thirst?
A survey of pastors reveals the negative effects of being in pastoral ministry.
These stats are collected from a number of websites, a few of which are… Scot McKnight
- www.jesuscreed.org , Burnout for Pastors, posted on August 13, 2007, accessed August 13, 2007, and
Alan Fadling, http://alanfadling.com/2009/06/03/ministry-burnout-stats/
16.1.1 90% of pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
16.1.2 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastors’ children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents.
16.1.3 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
16.1.4 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands and 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
16.1.5 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
16.1.6 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
16.1.7 33% confess to having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.
16.1.8 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry.
16.1.9 56% of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.
16.1.10 40% of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.
16.1.11 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
16.1.12 50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
16.1.13 50%of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
16.1.14 80%of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
16.1.15 70% said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
16.1.16 51% of pastors say that Internet pornography is a possible temptation for them; 37% admit that it is a current struggle
16.2 This is depressing!
16.2.1 You need to know what you are up against.
16.2.2 Realize that
IT IS UP TO YOU to guard and deepen your relationship with God.
188.8.131.52 In general, the culture and church are not going to be all that helpful in this regard.
16.3 Wise words from Parker Palmer and Dallas Willard
16.3.1 Parker Palmer
"I have become clear about at least one thing: self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good
stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we
can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch." Parker J. Palmer,
Let Your Life Speak , 30-31.