"death by ministry"

The pastoral life is a challenging one. Here’s an insightful article (titled “Death by Ministry”)about the stresses and strains, with some recommendations.

h/t: Scott McKay

UPDATE: Thanks to Richard for pointing me to Peter’s blog post here dealing with this issue. I pondered something like what Peter is writing about in my poem from the other day, “disarming,” reflecting on how people in general and pastors in particular don’t practice vulnerability and listening well, which can be harmful to themselves and others.

I guess this is on many of our minds.

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4 thoughts on “"death by ministry"

  1. I often have an urge to “be vulnerable,” but I have run into a couple of responses that discourage me. When I open up to “ordinary church folk,” they have a tendency to think I need reassurance. Well, that’s nice sometimes, but sometimes I just need someone to listen. (I’m a fixer by nature so I have some idea where that comes from.) Other folks look like they’re humoring me until they can go write down the horrible revelations in my secret file somewhere. (NOTE for spies: none of my “horrible revelations” are the kinds of things most people out there would think of as horrible.) Trust is a huge issue for me.

    With our TAC transitions, making the DS more of a consultant, while retaining the power role, I’m not sure what will happen. I think it’s a good move, but will not only be a harger job for DSs (to do well, anyway), but will challenge those of us who aren’t used to trusting DSs.

  2. I’m with you. It is difficult to make anything other than positive comments about my job or else I’ll be reassured or get an expression that’s saying, “note to self…”

    The power issue for DS’s makes sets us up for difficulty there, as well as the competitive organizational culture of our conference (I think). You don’t want so-and-so getting a certain impression of you–they might become a DS or it might show up in the preacher gossip.

    I find it tremendously difficult to listen well. But most often, I don’t need or want someone to “fix” me or my problem. I want and need to feel heard. Most of the time, that’s all it really takes. If it takes more, I’m ready to ask for more help because I feel confident that I’ve been heard.

  3. Abby and I had a similar conversation before you left Bellville. I think it is hard for pastors to have “friends” in their congregation that they can really talk to. Same goes for the wives. I hope that Abby feels she can talk to Rachel and I now that we are not your peeps (as Beth would say).

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