Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Some of us were talking about the emotional stress of ministry - it's something that isn't usually understood by people on the 'outside'. There is the pressure of decision-making (just like in business) but also of pastoral care (as in some other professions). There is the pressure of not really being in control of one's own time, of having to enforce a day off during the week, of seeking the approval of both God and people (and sometimes higher church structures).
It struck me that seminary is not bad preparation for this. Although the emotional stresses are different, they are very much there. Going from boredom to high intensity working. From a highly controlled environment (do exactly what staff tell you) to finding one's own way with little guidance. Taking one's colleagues as they come - they cannot be chosen. Being nothing, being everything. Being intellectually stimulated, sitting through what you've heard 100 times.
I find myself resenting this quite often - but I think I should see it as good preparation for what I will have to deal with later in ministry. Actually, I'm not sure that I do know how to deal with it - so there's something to think about!

1 comment:

Thomas Scarborough said...

In the USA, ministry dropout stands at 95%, according to some statistics. The best figure I have seen is 80%. It is one of the most perilous occupations. As best I know, there are no local statistics. The privileges and blessings of ministry are unparalleled, the challenges at times desperate and vicious.