Big Idea: Pastoral Health includes Mental Health
Pastoral health, or should I say pastoral unhealth, is a matter receiving a great deal of attention over the last year. In addition to news of clergy sexual abuse scandals, many of us have listened to the wildly popular podcast, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. Among other things, this podcast takes a close at how clergy abuses of power can damage congregations in significant ways. No doubt, honestly looking at such abuses and the cultures enabling them are necessary. At the same time, bringing about change in such matters will require not only dissecting our unhealth, but actively promoting strategies for health as well. Any robust strategy for pastoral health should include the area of pastoral mental health. As a bi-vocational mental health professional and local church pastor, I feel the need for such strategies both professionally and personally. Thankfully, people across various quarters are seeking out practices for supporting clergy in just these ways. Within this past month alone, Intersect has been approached by a seminary, a conference, and a health system for help addressing pastoral mental health. My prayer is that such initiatives would enhance pastors’ ability to build bridges with those in the mental health field as well as provide tools for helping them carry out their calling to “pay close attention to [their] life” for the sake of “themselves and their hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16).
Dave Eckert, M.Div., CPRP
Below are resources with whom you can partner for the purpose of wellness, education, and service.
Reimagining Faith & Disability Inclusion Post Pandemic
The Faith Inclusion Network Community For All 2022 Annual Conference will be held:
In person: March 10-11, 2022 In Norfolk, VA
Online: February 22- April 30, 2022
This conference will include a workshop entitled “Pastors and Their Mental Health” by Dave Eckert.
Serving Leaders Ministries
Serving Leaders Ministries exists to revive, restore and resource ministry leaders and their families, enabling them to pursue health and excellence in their call to ministry.
Since 2007, Serving Leaders has had the privilege of serving thousands of ministry leaders and their families through pastoral care, counseling, ministry coaching, mediation,
legal consultations, seminars, retreats, and more.
Looking for a way to help those in your community?
Intersect: Community Needs Facebook Group
This Facebook group functions as a care portal for faith communities who are looking to meet local needs in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. We will post needs specific to the individuals supported by Access Services. These may include needs for relational support, material resources, and/or monetary donations. We encourage you to share this page with your family and friends. While we started this page to provide concrete service opportunities to local faith communities, we encourage any community members who are interested in giving back to join!
Become a Foster Parent
You can help a child make memories for a lifetime this holiday season. There are many children and teens in your community who need people like you to open your heart and give them a safe, loving place to call home. Foster parents can make a difference in a child’s life by setting a good example and providing the time, care, and attention that every child deserves.
Become a Lifesharing Provider
By becoming a Lifesharing Provider, you will have the opportunity to open your home and share your life with an adult with an intellectual disability. Your support and assistance will enrich an individual’s life by affording them the opportunity to become a fully participating member of their community and empowering them to reach for and achieve their goals and aspirations.
1. What are some of challenges clergy face in paying attention to their mental health?
2. Whether a congregant, clergy, or mental health professional, what is one thing you can do to promote pastoral mental health in your congregation or community
Do you have something to contribute or a question to ask?
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