by Stan Granberg - Originally published 09/28/16
"At what point did pastoral ministry become so draining, so challenging, that a gifted veteran would question his ability to go the distance or cause a bright and talented newcomer to consider dropping out of professional ministry?" Lilly Foundation, Sustaining Pastoral Excellence, p.
Today's pastors often feel:
As a result, the best people often shy away from professional ministry or they burnout and leave ministry as a vocation, sometimes even leaving God in the process.
If you're a minister, a church leader, a friend of a minister, or a church member, you owe it to your minister, yourself, and your church to help your minister engage in healthy soul care.
Recently I was blessed to be at a meeting of church planter executives where Alan Ahlgrim presented five levels of pastoral soul care. Every pastor should have plans for the first four levels and options for level five.
Friend to Friend
Close friends provide regular, personal interaction where they can speak into the pastor's soul with love and support.
Everyone runs into situations that challenge them beyond their current level of ability or maturity. Mentors provide pastors the investment of experience and expertise to help them meet the challenges of pastoral work.
These are retreats, seminars, and training events where pastors can learn from experts and each other to sharpen the myriad of skills pastors may be called to perform.
These are small groups of fellow leaders who commit from one to three years together to hold each other close, allowing them to reveal their fears, their doubts, and their missteps without fear of repercussions.
Covenant groups are not about fixing. They are about listening carefully, asking clear questions, and keeping each other out of the ditch.
Sometimes despite the best precautions, but most often because levels one through four were not exercised, pastors reach crisis where professional help and intervention is needed.
God has provided exceptional people who can help pastors in deep distress regain balance and wholeness to their life and ministry.
Share these five levels with your church leaders and pastor. You may save a life gifted for God's glory.