>> August 28, 2010
Burnout isn't just emotional. It's also mental and relational.
Burned-out pastors get more easily discouraged.
Discouraged pastors make poor spiritual and personal choices from lack of discernment.
Lack of discernment leads to hurt relationships, unbiblical teaching or even scandal.
Hurt relationships and conflict lead to overwhelming guilt.
Guilt leads to doubting one's call to ministry.
Doubt leads to...
You get the general idea.
And burnout is physical, too:
Public health experts who have led the studies caution that there is no simple explanation of why so many members of a profession once associated with rosy-cheeked longevity have become so unhealthy and unhappy.If leadership is best executed by modeling an example, then many of us have got some work to do.
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.
(Taking a Break from the Lord's Work, Paul Vitello, NY Times)
We can't tell our church members that God wants them to be healthy in their lifestyle choices if we don't bother to rest, exercise or make smart eating choices. Unless of course, you don't mind being called a hypocrite.
We have to remember that staying healthy so we can serve God to the fullest is more than just making one kind of health decision. It's about living a whole life in balance. Which, as pastoral families, ain't an easy assignment.
Even in the best of times, however, many factors can contribute to clergy health problems.It's not impossible to choose a lifestyle that help prevent obesity, heart disease and depression. A good place to start is with adequate rest and regular exercise.
Clergy routinely work 60-hour weeks, and often have just one day off -- and not the day everyone else is off. Also, every function that a priest or rabbi or imam attends is likely to have food -- and not necessarily healthy fare -- that he or she is expected to share.
"Doughnuts will be the death of me," several Methodist pastors told researchers with the Duke Clergy Health Initiative, a seven-year project with Duke Divinity School that is looking at the health of United Methodist pastors in North Carolina.
(No Rest for the Holy, David Gibson, Politics Daily)
Eating smarter helps too. Check out our own Jenah's column on HOW TO::eat healther in the PW home for tips on better food choices.
When you live long enough to keep on meeting their needs, your church will thank you. (Hopefully!)
A FEW LINKS & RESOURCES ABOUT PASTORAL BURNOUT:
- No Rest for the Holy: Clergy Burnout a Growing Concern, David Gibson, Politics Daily
- Soul Care the the Roots of Clergy Burnout, Anne Dilenschneider, The Huffington Post
- Taking a Break from the Lord's Work, Paul Vitello, The New York Times
- Study finds Canadian clergy burned out, isolated, The Presbyterian Outlook
- National Clergy Renewal Program
- Clergy Health Initiative, Duke Divinity School
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