When I read it, all the lights went on.
Of all the research I’ve studied about clergy wellbeing, this insight from Duke University has been maybe my biggest “Aha!” moment of all.
Pastors experience as much secondary trauma as almost any other profession. We know that. We’re invited to join the family in their most trying, sad and difficult times. It wears on us.
So how do we reconcile that with pastors consistently rating their level of job satisfaction off the charts higher than any other occupation?
Is this work incredibly painful or is it tremendously rewarding?
The problem for many in ministry is that it’s both, but we don’t always manage well the emotional, physical and spiritual impact.
We experience the great burden of ministering to people in the most trying times of life. We also experience the unequalled joy of witnessing God the Holy Spirit work the miraculous wonders of faith in the lives of people we love.
Often times in the same day. Rapidly switching back and forth.
We’re hit with waves of emotion and anxiety as we weep with those who weep at a bedside or a graveside, then suddenly find ourselves in the presence of preschoolers giggling at play or a newly-wed couple at their first dance.
It can leave you exhausted, wondering, “What happened?”
Well, ministry happened.
It’s so important to pay attention, to stay tuned in to the emotional roller coaster ride you’re on, to recognize when the wild swings of the highs and lows, the hot and cold of ministry are hitting you hard.
And to seek to comfort and peace that God provides.
The gospel of Christ is the power to heal the past and the power to fortify for ministry’s next adventure.
When overwhelmed, we have the gift of baptismal grace that calls us, frail and helpless as we are, to nestle in the Savior’s loving arms and say, “Bless me, Lord. I’m hurting.”
We have the comfort and assurance of God’s promise that this is his ministry, and that his humble, willing servants will endure not in their own capacity, but in his healing, restorative grace.
And we have each other.
We created the Grace Place Wellness Community to be a fellowship of ministers, of people on the same journey through the highs and lows of ministry. It’s a Place of Grace, a place to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
It’s a place where you are understood, because we’ve all been there.
The fellowship of pastors is so important because this calling and lifestyle is so unique. Our Elders, our Church Councils and even our families love us, but can’t really understand.
It’s a privilege and a joy for me to throw out a topic each week and then gather pastors around their virtual discussion tables to share stories of, “I remember a time when…” and “That’s when my wife and I learned that…” and “You know what? I’m in the middle of that right now.”
The gospel is God’s gift for healing.
The fellowship of saints in the ministry is God’s delivery system.
I hope you’ll join us soon.
Thanks for reading.