Tag Archives: Pastor

Invite your pastor (or key leader) to attend our “abuse in the church” conference, July 20-21 2012

church should be the safest place in the world! Unfortunately, it isn’t always. Even worse, when abuse does happen, the church may not always protect the victims. While this shouldn’t surprise us since the church is full of sinners, we ought always to be working to make it a place free from abuse. Is your church working to protect the congregants from abuse? Is it ready to respond to an abuse allegation?

This summer I will be co-teaching with Boz Tchividjian (Liberty Law School prof and former prosecutor) a weekend course/conference on preventing and responding to abuse in the church. We are inviting church leaders to join our MDiv and counseling students at Branch Creek Church, Harleysville, PA. The class will run Friday night, July 20 and all day Saturday, July 21, 2012. All the details you need can be found on this Abuse Course Flyer.

Would you consider personally inviting your pastor or church leader by passing on this brochure?

For non-student registrations, click here. If you want to see a syllabus, click here.

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Filed under Abuse, christian counseling, christian psychology, counseling, counseling skills

Causes of Pastor Struggles?

I’ve spoken on this topic for the past several years and have shared thoughts on this blog about the unique stresses of being a pastor or being in a pastor’s family. During the AACC conference I was able to attend Michael and Kari MacKenzie’s presentation (Marble Retreat counselors). Here’s what they had to say…very much mirroring what I had just taught on several days ago.

Michael’s dissertation research on the topic resulted in the following list as the “top 6” most significant struggles in ministry

1. Stress, 2. Burnout, 3. Marital Problems, 4. Sexual Problems (infidelity, porn, etc.), 5. Depression, 6. Conflict (family or ministry). Interestingly, if you are on a missionary team, #6 is really #1.

What are the prime causes, according to their research?

1. Isolation, 2. Unrealistic Expectations, 3. Poor Boundaries.

I would comment here that these are not really causes but deeper layers may need to be discovered. Just why does the ministry leader have unrealistic expectations, poor boundaries, etc.? What is driving these issues? Some of those reasons can be found in the culture as well as in the desires of the pastor/leader. For example, a refusal to be vulnerable may be causal…as well as a congregation’s expectation that pastors never need help.

What helps protect pastors from massive stress? According to Mark McMinn: 1. a Personal Devotion to Christ (outside of sermon prep), 2. Hobbies, 3. Exercise, 4. Regular Time Away, 5. a Good Marriage.

The 64,000 question:

Why don’t pastors (why don’t we all) do the most basic things we know are good for them? Why don’t we exercise and eat well? Why don’t we take time away? Why don’t we get enough sleep? Why don’t we maintain a healthy devotional life? Rarely is it a matter of not knowing how to do these things. If you find yourself not doing basic self-care, ask yourself this: what other motives take priority in my life? Some other goal/motivation is getting in the way. What is it? When you can answer that question then you have a greater chance to decide what you are going to do about it.


Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, pastoral renewal, pastors and pastoring

Book for pastors at risk

Over the last couple of years I have gotten to know Dr. Charles Wickman. He is the founder of Pastor-in-Residence, a ministry to exited and at-risk pastors. He has a huge desire to see pastors flourish in their called locations. Currently, Rev. Ed Lochmoeller is PIR’s national director. This is a wonderful ministry for pastors who may have been forced out of their churches or are about to leave. The ministry places these pastor families in churches where they are “in residence” and being cared for while regaining their ministry footing.

What are the two main reasons for being “at risk” of being forced out? Vision conflict with leadership and burnout.

I tell you all this because Dr. Wickman has just published Pastors At Risk: Protecting Your Future, Guarding Your Present (Peoria, AZ: Intermedia Publishing Group, 2011).

This is a perfect, simple book. It is a simple read for those who are confused. And most pastors I know who meet the definition of being burned out are easily confused by complex details. They get bogged down into rights/wrongs, second-guessing their calling, angry, depressed, embittered. Dr. Wickman puts the issues on the table and then gives some good directions for both the pastor and spouse. I think most will find this small book clear and to the point on the main issues. Interspersed among the chapters are small vignettes of pastors and pastor’s spouses in their own words.

If you are a pastor, it is worth the 13 dollars for a read and hopefully some new directions for preventing a crash and burn. If you are an elder or deacon, I recommend you read it as you can learn much about the special pressures of pastoring. Don’t assume that somehow you or your church is different. That would be like knowing there is an epidemic of the flu and thinking that your constitution is somehow stronger than the rest thus negating your need for a flu shot.

Get the book. Read the book. Take the survey (p. 135). Talk to someone about the results. Make a plan for prevention.

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Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, church and culture, pastoral renewal, pastors and pastoring

Consider a gift for your pastor: A retreat!

Want to bless your pastor family this year? Consider giving the gift of a renewal retreat. If you can’t afford to cover the whole costs (see below), consider going in on the gift together with some of your friends.

Here’s what I’m talking about. A group of like-minded individuals meet on a regular basis to consider how to promote pastor renewal. Last year, we developed and ran a pastoral renewal retreat for pastors and spouses. It was successful and so we are planning a second retreat for April 26-28, 2011 (the week after Easter). The retreat runs 3 days and 2 nights in the Poconos  at the Haft. During the retreat couples will meet together, alone with a ministry mentor, and have time alone as they consider how to grow spiritually in the face of ministry challenges. We will cover issues such as discouragers, marriage enrichment, and renewal practices.

The cost to the ministry couple is $250. for room, board, and retreat. We’ll be posting registration materials but if you know think this is something you want to do or you know some couples who are interested, email me [pmonroeATbiblicalDOTedu] to get on a first ask list. There are only 7 couple slots available.


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Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, pastoral renewal, pastors and pastoring