The Common Good

Death By Ministry: Why is Being a Pastor so Unhealthy?

Several years ago, I spent several hours/week doing research (and meeting with other pastors) about pastoral health and vitality for my denomination.

I chose to spend some time doing that for selfish reasons. I was and am still learning how to take better care of myself in ministry (as evidenced by the scary picture below) -- while completely acknowledging that sometimes, it's not supposed to feel right.

What I learned was pretty shocking and heartbreaking, but one of the conclusions I came to was that as ministry leaders, pastors, and other pursuers of God's work, it helps to understand some of the challenges ahead and to be proactive rather than reactive.

Yesterday, I posted Part I of this post entitled "Why is Being a Pastor so Unhealthy?" The reasons are complex, and I'll acknowledge that when one looks for "doom and gloom," you'll find some discouraging things. I can focus an entry purely on the joys and blessings of pastoral ministry and feel confident I can write a compelling piece. But these statistics (and stories that many of us are aware of) and our personal stories are hard to ignore.

Here's a summary of what I learned and shared:

There are varying reports from different sources, but I believe most will agree that the ministerial profession (life as pastors) is now considered one of the most dangerous or unhealthiest professions. It's usually rated last or second to last. Read this from a local Northwest minister, Mark, on a comment on an earlier post:

"At the first church I served we had an insurance agent who was a member of the congregation. When I went to see him about some auto insurance needs, he said 'Hey, wanna see something that will scare the crap out of you?'

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