Part of clergy burnout is lack of physical health

David Gibson, a religion reporter, shares that religious leaders, whether rabbis, imams, or priests, are suffering dire health consequences. Snippets from the article are below:

"God may have rested on the seventh day, but for a growing number of his ministers, there is more work -- and stress -- than ever, and less chance to unwind. That has led to all sorts of health problems among clergy, from a lack of exercise and a rise in obesity to problems of depression and substance abuse and all the many ills of modern life that pastors spend so much time helping their congregants tackle.

"Indeed, even as the folks in the pews head off to vacations this summer, priests, rabbis, pastors and ministers of all faiths often find themselves looking after those left behind and still in need of spiritual support, or using any down time to catch up on the inevitable backlog of administrative work that always takes second place to the care of souls....

"A national survey in 2001 of more than 2,500 Christian religious leaders conducted by Duke Divinity School showed that 76 percent of Christian clergy were either overweight or obese, 15 percentage points higher than for the general U.S. population. And other research has shown that clergy across all faiths are succumbing to higher rates of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other ailments than their congregants.
"But experts also say the solutions have to start at the congregational level.

Congregants can encourage pastors to take time off, and not view everything in the church as the pastor's responsibility. They can also be sure to provide healthy food at church events. But clergy must also learn find time to exercise or relax, even if it means saying no to some requests. Otherwise, they won't be healthy enough to serve their flock later on."

Are you a pastor?
  • what in the article caught your attention? 
  • Take 5 minutes and ask the Lord, "How does this connect to my story?"

Are you a congregant? 
  • How might you help your pastor have the space to cultivate their own soul care so as to help you cultivate yours?

Click here to read the whole article.