A recent Christianity Today article that was shared on Facebook by my friend, presbyterian pastor Ray Cannata, says that 38% of pastors are considering leaving pastoral ministry. The last couple years has been intense for pastors. The article talks about the questions pastors are asking today:
“All the chaos, all the pressure, the magnifying glass of social media, the pandemic, the politics, the hyperdigital context, it makes sense that you have a lot of pastors saying, ‘Is this really what I signed up for? Is this what I was called into?’”
Recently the seminary I attended, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, reported on a study of PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) pastors on three tensions that impact pastoral wellness:
(1) Relationships: Pastors view relationships as vital for their spiritual maturity and self-care. “A group of friends can provide the relational safety, vulnerability, and accountability that lead to growth.” However the study reported that 38 percent of surveyed pastors struggle to find safe, trusted friends with whom to process life.
(2) Identity: “Building an identity based on one’s pastoral position in the church versus building one rooted in Christ can significantly affect wellbeing.” Pastors are famous for basing their joy, meaning and worth on how well their church is doing, not on how much their heavenly Father loves them and who he uniquely made them to be.
(3) Systems: The church is a body. So every member, every part, is connected to the other. Learning how interconnected the body is, learning systems, helps pastors to shepherd and lead their flock well. Learning about these systems and how to navigate them, and nurture their health, often happens through conversations among pastors as we learn from one another.
In light of this, I am hoping to gather a cohort of PCA pastors and their wives and walk together through the Identity Mapping journey. In this journey we will share our stories and lives in a confidential and safe group. We will learn more about who God crafted and redeemed us to be, and even come to embrace God’s workmanship in Christ. And we will grow in our understanding of the particular callings God has appointed us. But most of all, we will be a community of grace for one another as we walk through the sorrows and pains of pastoral ministry as couples.
Jenny has a burden for Pastor’s wives. She knows that the number one factor in a church plant’s success is – believe it or not – the health of the pastor’s wife. If the pastor’s wife is flourishing, the church will flourish. If the opposite is true, the church or church plant will struggle. Jenny has coached over 100 church planting spouses and pastor’s wives who are working all over the world. She finds their struggles to be very much the same.
The 2022 Pastor’s Cohort begins in January and runs for 16 weeks. We will meet on Tuesdays, from 4:00-5:30 PST. You can learn more about the cohort – and sign up – here.