We are at the end of the month of October which has been designated as Clergy Appreciation Month. And although we set aside a month to focus on appreciating and caring for those called to shepherd the church, care for the pastor needs to go well beyond one month out of the year.
Pastors are at high risk - depression, addictions and divorce.
An estimated 18% to 25% of all ministers are depressed at any one time.
The pain and suffering that pastors silently suffer through can turn tragic.
From an article at USAToday,
What kind of personal pain would cause a 42-year-old pastor to abandon his family, his calling and even life itself? Members of a Baptist church here are asking that question after their pastor committed suicide in his parked car in September.
Read the whole article HEREThose who counsel pastors say Christian culture, especially Southern evangelicalism, creates the perfect environment for depression. Pastors suffer in silence, unwilling or unable to seek help or even talk about it. Sometimes they leave the ministry. Occasionally the result is the unthinkable.
Experts say clergy suicide is a rare outcome to a common problem.
But Baptists in the Carolinas are soul searching after a spate of suicides and suicide attempts by pastors. In addition to the September suicide of David Treadway, two others in North Carolina attempted suicide, and three in South Carolina succeeded, all in the last four years.
Being a pastor — a high-profile, high-stress job with nearly impossible expectations for success — can send one down the road to depression, according to pastoral counselors.
If you are a pastor or a ministry leader, how do cope with the stresses, struggles and strains from ministry?