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A pastor I know was recently rushed to the hospital with sudden paralysis on his right side. While out on a call, a chilling numbness had begun crawling up his right leg. By the time he reached home, he thought he was dying.

Four doctors worked on him into the wee hours of the morning but found nothing. Finally they began quizzing his wife about unusual pressures her husband might be facing. Their diagnosis: "We suspect your husband is suffering from stress; he's not the first pastor we've seen in this condition." Later they explained that recovery would most likely involve treatment at a mental hospital.

Survival in the ministry today depends in part on pastors' ability to understand and diagnose their own stress. One of the great stress producers in the pastorate is the inordinate number of meetings we are expected to attend. During a "normal" week, I attend four formal meetings and at least two committee meetings. To say I attend these meetings is misleading; usually I'm in charge, which ...

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