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Is Health Possible in Church Ministry?

Self-care should be a response to God's love, not just another item on the to-do list.

Can we live healthier lives as church leaders? It's true that ministry is a stressful line of work. The constant pressure of a Sunday sermon, endless pastoral needs, church conflict both big and small, community obligations - all can conspire to keep us from taking care of ourselves, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Working hard is not a bad thing at all. Ministry is hard work. But if it's compulsive, then it's a spiritual problem. If you can never let go, you will not be able to sustain yourself over time.

So what are some ways we can find greater health in our lives? My own experience and that of the many clergy with whom I coach and consult suggest most clergy are overfunctioners - we take too much responsibility for others and for the life of the church. This can lead to burnout, and to not enough time for family and for self-care. Asking clear questions such as: whose responsibility is this? Is it really mine? When do I need to let go? help create time and energy for the rest ...

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