Marlaina Centeno on Why We Need to Look Out for Our Pastor’s Well-being and Mental Health

We are tired. 2020 exhausted us, and many don’t see an end to the chaos in 2021.

It is well known that America is experiencing a mental health crisis. And for pastors, the mental, emotional, and spiritual challenge of shepherding a congregation during the COVID-19 pandemic can be incredibly taxing.

Pastors often overlook their own exhaustion because they’re so connected to the hurts and stressors of their community. On top of the normal preaching, counseling, and supporting roles of clergy, many have had to juggle financial worries as giving has fallen for some churches, especially smaller congregations.

Even without a pandemic or political polarization, pastors often function in leadership roles in isolation, and this wears them down. According to a Barna survey conducted last year, three in ten pastors (31%) said they are struggling with their emotional well-being. Even before the pandemic, research showed that 90% of pastors worked 55 to 70 hours a week, and 50% of them felt unable to meet the demands of the job.

As a pastor for five years and someone who has been involved in ministry for 15 years, I have never before experienced the level of heightened worry and uncertainty I’m experiencing now. And I’m not alone. Every pastor that I know, especially the ones who “seem fine,” could use some comfort, care, and an extra dose of hope. Over the past year, I have regularly received private text messages and phone calls from leaders wondering how to best care for their congregations and their family. And some are also juggling a full-time job and other passion projects.

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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Marlaina Centeno

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