Church. church.

   Please lead your church to enter into a mental/emotional health agreement with your ministerial staff.

   To wit:

   Require ministerial staff to take no fewer than two (2) prayer retreats each year. I can suggest a format if you wish.

   Require ministerial staff to visit with a mental health professional (LPC, psychologist, et al) of their choosing at least once every two years. You pay for it.

   Require the ministerial staff directly involved to take additional time off from other work for every funeral or wedding they have to solemnize. You go to one funeral, spend an hour, cry, and go back to work. He gets to do it three to five times a month.

   Make certain his/her salary package is keeping up. Usually, a minister agrees to a certain package when coming to a church. He/she may get a small cost of living increase in a good year and nothing in a year considered "not so good." When he/she leaves, the church is often amazed to find out how "out of the market" they are before they can get new staff of a similar nature. What does this say?

   Leave his/her family alone. They are not on staff. They don't need the "Three Billy Goat's Gruff" Treatment. Really.

   Don't take him to lunch to tell him who is angry this month. He probably knows. Instead, put two new tires on the front of his car, pay his cell bill or do something else that says, "I care and I want to take off some of the strain."

   Don't invite him/her to "unburden to you." He/she may do so but do not bid him unload.

   Yes, tell him/her when he/she is wrong. Just don't tell the whole world about him behind his/her back. The former is courageous, while the latter is just gossip.

   Churches of all types are running out of ministers. In particular, mainstream churches are running out of experienced, educated, long-term, called pastors and staff. Maybe we don't need them. However, if you are going to keep trying to have a pastor/staff, you have a Christian obligation to nurture them.

   Admit you do not know what a pastor does. Oh, really? What is his schedule? When does he pray? What is he reading? Does your church expect him to be more chaplain than evangelist? He has the same 24 hours in a day you use. He is a generalist in an age of specialization. What do you know about what he does?

3 thoughts on “Church. church.”

  1. Spiritual Samurai

    Oh Dear Brother,
    You have hit the nail on the head. Most folks do not know what we do. They don’t know how many meals we have had to leave after just sitting down because the called. They do not know how many times we change our plans for them. They have no idea (some do) how they hurt us while we pray and cry for them. And sadly, it is becoming more and more an us/them.
    Most of the folks in the pew have no idea what a call from God is. They do not know that the only way out is self destruction. They do not understand and most of them do not want to.
    Yes, we have fostered this with the “professional” ministry. But the church has also contributed by treating those in ministry as spiritual janitors that are supposed to clean up their moral and theological messes.
    Again thank you for your insight.

  2. Michael R. Chancellor

    My new position: Manager of the Mental Health Clinic at Polunsky is 8-4:30 five days a week. My district boss chides me if I do more. That is about half of the hours I worked for the church, any church. I got an enormous raise, weekends off, generous benefits, and when someone acts up in my office I call security and send them back to their cell. I fire staff that doesn’t work, praise staff that does, and enjoy working in a system where thieves, murders, and addicts are plainly marked by their clothes. The BGCT could learn from that.
    I counselor with Baptist deacons, preachers, and every day ordinary church members, but they have been identified by society as offenders. I sometimes think we aught to send in “offender” smell dogs into churches before the new pastor comes in, so the troubled people and the problem people can be identified and have a “P” spray painted on their forehead (Problem).
    Sad really that so many pastors have to put up with so much stuff while many in the church think their pastor and staff have dream jobs.
    Sad, Sad. You are right, the church is killing its leaders.
    Michael R. Chancellor

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