May 7, 2020 – Taking Care of Your Pastor – Rev. Dan Chadwick

May 7, 2020 – Taking Care of Your Pastor – Rev. Dan Chadwick

The challenges for pastors in the past few weeks have been enormous.   Pastors of churches have had to change and adapt how they conduct worship, minister to their congregation and minister to the community.  Many of our pastors have had a huge learning curve in attempting to put their worship services online.  They have had to overcome their apprehension of using new technology while they learned to conduct worship services on such platforms as Youtube and Facebook.  Pastors have had to discover new ways of connecting with people.  Ministering to the individuals in the congregation while maintaining social distance.  Some pastors have used drive-by visits.  Other pastors have made numerous daily phone calls so that the people of their congregation do not feel totally isolated.  Pastors have utilized zoom for meetings and Bible studies.  Many have sent out weekly devotionals in the attempt to provide hope and build faith in this time of anxiety.

And now, with the prospect of opening our buildings, pastors will need to meet with their leadership to determine the best procedures and recommend a date for re-opening.  Then, they will have to plan how to create this special event as part of the congregation’s worship of our Lord.

Pastors have done all this and more, all while going through the same sense of loss, grief and anxiety that we have all felt at this time.  For pastors, the work of ministering to their congregation is more intense in this time of social isolation.  They have often pushed their own needs aside, in their concern to insure the well-being of their congregation.  In doing so, their unresolved grief can lead to despair, depression and cynicism.

Pastors are notorious for having lousy self-care.  Many pastors, while encouraging the people of their congregation toward positive mental health, struggle to take care of their own emotional needs.  Recently, some pastors have admitted that they have not taken a day off since the stay at home procedure was initiated.  And with the possibility of the re-opening the building to worship, a pastor’s workload will continue to be much more than what used to be.  In light of what pastors have been, and still are going through, I hope that churches realize that pastors have been under a tremendous strain in the past two months.

I hope that church leaders will advocate with the rest of the congregation on behalf of the pastor.  I hope churches will encourage their pastors to “take a break”.   I hope that church leaders will insist that the pastor take two days off every week.  I hope that churches will help their pastor understand the need for time off from work.  I hope that churches will nudge their pastor to take some much-needed vacation, even if all they do is stay at home.  My hope is, that churches will value their pastors so much, that they take care of their pastor.

Rev. Dan Chadwick

Region Minister