Do you ever feel like you are running on empty and there is nothing left to give? You are not alone, pastor. If we are not careful, the unrelenting pressures of life and ministry can put stress and strain on our relationships and leave us emotionally unhealthy. Though we know the value and promise of “Abide” from John 15, our service to King Jesus can begin to feel more like a heavy weight. We are working hard to crank out sermons, provide leadership, counsel and disciple others, resolve conflict, etc. The list goes on, but inwardly it can become more about doing than being. It’s an obligation, rather than an overflow of the heart.
To compound the scenario, pastors can lack deep and meaningful relationships where they can be honest about their emotions and process them in constructive ways. On the outside there is a resolute face, but on the inside there is a desperate plea. You find yourself short with those you love, you are wrestling with anger and discouragement, and in a continual spiritual battle in your heart and mind. I know. I have felt these things and in each of those seasons of emotional exhaustion, I can reflect and see that my life was out of balance. My spiritual love tank was empty.
Pastor care is a passion for me because I know what it feels like to hurt deeply and I know the dangers of leading on empty. Pastors need to engage on the heart level and do “soul care” together. Sound scary? Afraid of what other pastors may think of you when they find out how you are struggling? That’s exactly how the Devil wants you to think! The truth is that as pastors we need each other. Want to get connected? I can help. Just reach out!
If you want to take a baby step, how about the Pastor Care Line? In cooperation with Focus on the Family, the North American Mission Board has established a 24-hour hotline for pastors. When you call 1-844-Pastor1, you will find trained biblical counselors who will keep your needs in confidence. They will help you face the darkness that is invading your space and guide you on a path to healing and renewal. You can address the spiritual crisis you are facing today!
The Care4Pastors Initiative has many resources for you to explore: https://www.greatcommandment.net/c4p
Want to learn more? Below is a Podcast from Peter Scazerro who recently released Emotionally Healthy Discipleship. How Do We Flourish as Leader Under Unrelenting Pressures? It is worth 15 minutes!
You can also create this type of healthy culture in your local church. This course if free and downloadable: www.emotionallyhealthy.org/run-the-course.