Pastors are caretakers, a characteristic of those who answer the call to ministry. We need to be needed. In that sense, perhaps we're all a little codependent, making caregiving an emotional hazard of our profession.
My prayer was neither theologically nor politically correct. With my green Chevy Vega idling at the corner of Mockingbird and Greenville in Dallas, Texas, I broke down. "Lord, I'm the only thing that stands between these people and hell," I prayed shamelessly. "They'll have to go to hell 'cause I'm going home. I quit."
When I had left the office that evening, my secretary had apprised me of my eight-month waiting list and the forty or so phone calls screaming for my attention. I was overwhelmed by it all, tyrannized and oppressed by the guilt. Playing the role of messiah had taken its toll. Like the lifeguard who gets pulled under while rescuing a drowning victim, my workaholism was dragging my own emotional health under water.
Pastors are susceptible to emotional ...1