It’s difficult to be a pastor in normal times, but that ministry may be even harder right now: Some members and their enterprises are coming undone. Those of us who try to care for others may encounter individuals whose mental states seem to be coming off the rails. As your pastor may be experiencing, that’s tough work. What, then, can we do for our cherished leaders? A few thoughts come to mind….
Pastors’ caregiving ministries may be overloaded by the complexities of some congregants’ deep neediness. This burden may fall solely on pastors’ shoulders, calendars and energy levels. An extra element gets added to the usual work of caring for those who are ill, mourning or in distress: People whose cognitive, emotional or spiritual capabilities are disintegrating because of internal or external circumstances that seem beyond their control.
Pastors can run out of time, energy or skills to care for members who can’t hold together their own lives or perspectives. That’s why each of us can be part of strengthening our pastors’ spiritual and mental capacities.
Those of us who want to surround our pastors with love can step up: Lightening and sharing their workload; adjusting our expectations of manageable, sustainable pastoral ministry; providing times and places for Sabbath rest and engaging in honest conversations filled with listening moments. We can show gratitude for other aspects of pastors’ vocational excellence, surprising and delighting them with generosity. We can dream and imagine together with them, exemplifying our can-do attitudes about our congregations.
By equipping us for our daily life ministries, our congregations help bring God’s will to bear on the world. Our churches are a primary conduit for God’s good news to reach people’s lives. Our pastors are integral to that ministry.
Together with them, we can stay on-track!
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