Sunday, August 15, 2010

Clergy Burnout Roundup

"Taking a Break From the Lord’s Work" by Paul Vitello:

"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...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."

"No Rest For the Holy: Clergy Burnout a Growing Concern" by David Gibson:

"Indeed, unlike doctors or police, for example, pastors are supposed to be people who have dedicated their lives to a spiritual goal and are not expected to focus on themselves and their own welfare in the here and now...In religious communities, each congregant tends to have a different view of what a cleric should be -- preacher, fundraiser, counselor, spiritual exemplar, etc. -- but few have any real conception of what the job entails. 'Some congregants think their clergy work one hour a week preaching, and maybe another hour to prepare,' said Proeschold-Bell."

"Soul Care and the Roots of Clergy Burnout" by Anne Dilenschneider:

"Pastors who are effective and get things done are considered 'successful.' Denominations...focus on results that can be measured (e.g., increased membership and the congregation's financial well-being). Yet numerous studies over the past 20 years reveal that this approach is, literally, killing clergy and, by extension, churches and denominations."

"Congregations Gone Wild" by G. Jeffery MacDonald:

"The American clergy is suffering from burnout, several new studies show. And part of the problem, as researchers have observed, is that pastors work too much. Many of them need vacations, it’s true. But there’s a more fundamental problem that no amount of rest and relaxation can help solve: congregational pressure to forsake one’s highest calling...As religion becomes a consumer experience, the clergy become more unhappy and unhealthy...The trend toward consumer-driven religion has been gaining momentum for half a century...clergy have seen their job descriptions rewritten. They’re no longer expected to offer moral counsel in pastoral care sessions or to deliver sermons that make the comfortable uneasy. Church leaders who continue such ministerial traditions pay dearly."

"The Church’s Unholy Addiction" by Stephen Lewis:

"What I find surprising is a prevailing belief among many clergy and congregations that one pastor is equipped and able to attend faithfully to the needs of an entire faith community. What I find most alarming is an underlying assumption that clergypersons are somehow endowed by God with special capacities to address adequately their congregants’ needs and desires. I am distressed by what appears to be a deeply held belief among congregations and clergy that God calls pastors to a way of working that leads to the demise of their health and the neglect of their families as signs of their faithfulness to a 'higher calling.'"

1 comment:

  1. My father was a pastor and I was headed in that direction until I opted for social work, then healthcare. I have watched and talked with many of my colleagues in ministry. It is true that ministry is not a "family friendly" occupation. I have seen the toll it has taken on my friends' health and how it has contributed to dysfunctional and broken families. We need to put the brakes on the demands we make on clergy and re-evaluate our priorities.