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When Pastors Pray, Part 1

God called me to minister to desperate ministers

We took the time to study the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the fallen pastors. We found they had issues within their marriages, difficultly balancing ministry and life, burnout, or depression. If adequate attention is not given to depression it can lead to suicide. Our assessments told us that most of the pastors who committed suicide were struggling somewhere in their marriages. Therefore, we knew we needed to address how to effectively balance marriage and ministry.

We also knew we had to present difficult topics by utilizing a concept called “courageous communication.” We utilized Clergy Killers, a film about managing disgruntle congregants, vindictive situations, controlling parishioners, and pastor extinction. Then we moved into open-ended conversation. I believe this was the most beneficial part of the symposium. Pastors were sharing what they had gone through and were receiving support not just from the presenters, but from each other. Once again, we witnessed diversity in the types of issues the pastors experienced as well as diverse methods for addressing the issues. Then we closed with prayer.

When Pastors Pray Symposiums are designed to provide a safe place where pastors can get the help they need without being judged, compromised, or ridiculed for what they have had to endure. Amazingly, some of our pastoral teammates are licensed mental health professionals. God knew that we needed to have access to clinical information, and he knew that only a pastor would truly understand what other pastors go through. He knew these mental health professionals could present information in a way that pastors would get it.

At the conclusion of the When Pastors Pray symposium, and after viewing the video Clergy Killers, with tears in his eyes Pastor Ron said, “I just retired from ministry after 30 years. I wish I had something like this when I started ministry and during all the years of turmoil, depression, and discouragement. I am still very much in need of healing; please keep me posted when you do this again.” Truthfully, these attacks affect all of us called to the pastorate. We each have a responsibility to do something to protect our pastors.

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