Hmmm . . . congregational or synodical resources on wellness. I’VE GOT THIS!
Consider this blurb from a Reporter article by Jeni Miller, I learned the following:
In 2016, the Synod in convention passed five resolutions regarding church worker wellness. In addition, one of the seven mission priorities of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Board for National Mission is to “promote and nurture the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of pastors and professional church workers.”
With that in mind, a worker wellness survey was conducted in 2017 to help focus and determine the extent and types of wellness that need to be addressed among the Synod’s commissioned and ordained workers.
Of those workers responding to the survey:
- 26 percent have experienced serious marital difficulties while in ministry.
- 24 percent have been told by a professional that they suffer from anxiety or depression.
- 75 percent have a Body Mass Index (BMI) considered overweight or obese.
- 55 percent say they have experienced stress from financial concerns.
- 40 percent question whether their work has any real impact.
- 32 percent admit that the busyness of life gets in the way of their relationships with God.
If I were to point to a single fabulous LCMS resource to fight burn out and compassion fatigue, I would point to Doxology, with its Word and Sacrament approach coupled with listening, fellowship, and additional offerings. Granted, its main program is for pastors, their congregations, and their families, but I think its a seriously wonderful blow back against burnout, compassion fatigue, and feeling isolated and alone under the burdens of the Office.
At the same time, there’s also a renewed emphasis on recognizing ministry issues like burnout and fatigue in LCMS organizations at large. LCEF offers occasional articles like this one. LCEF also offers a pastoral coaching, and Lutheran Schools has an educator coaching program!
The Lutheran Witness had entire issue exploring ministry and mental health (Yay for October 2018!). (If you only have have a moment, here’s an article by Dr. Bev Yahnke titled Mental Health and Pastoral Ministry.)
(Bev is totally amazing, by the way. A truly excellent speaker with a sharp wit and wonderful sense of humor!) In that article, several other organizations are praised as blessings, including:
- PALS program (Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support), which provides community, ongoing continuing education, support and encouragement for men (and their wives) in their first three years of ministry.
- Grace Place Wellness, whose founder writes books on wellness in addition to creating a retreat program for church workers and their families.
- Shepherd’s Canyon Retreat, again offering a programmed retreat for church workers and their families.
Feeling left out, non-church workers? I don’t mean to. NOBODY intends to do that. So allow me to introduce a new and growing resources available to everyone. Sure, it’s titled “Church Worker Wellness” but no one will check your roster status! 🙂 Promise
I’m pretty impressed with how put together this is. I mean, it can take a long time to gather up resources like this, but it’s all organized and there are plans to add and add and add. Excellent!
If you like the approach of the website, narrowing in on different areas of wellness, or if you have questions about some of the reasoning behind it, you can read Vocation and Wellness to get a little more background.
But I want to say it again: this site is worth exploring, whether you are a church worker or not. You can start by looking under congregational wellbeing or anywhere else.
Plus . . .
I also want to mention one other interesting group, although it is not synodically connected: Fresh Hope for Mental Health is a resource founded by an LCMS Lutheran, working to address mental health conditions through peer-to-peer Christian mental health support groups. I’ve only just learned of it, but there is so much need for Christian service and support! It is possible to live well in spite of mental health issues!! And the Church can pave the way to wellness unlike anything else, because she has her Beloved, receives His gifts, and brings His life, death, and resurrection with her wherever she goes. 🙂
Hmm. What should my last post about resources be about for Friday . . .
Happy reading & writing, folks! Wishing you wellness and support!