Two weeks ago I published Healthy Ministry and the Pastor with Mental Illness, which included an excerpt from Delight in Disorder and an interview with author Tony Roberts on his experience as a pastor living with bipolar disorder. In the next few weeks, I plan to share two more interviews on mental health in the workplace, and today I’m highlighting a handbook that helps to educate people on preventing suicide.
When Tony Roberts first published Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission, I was immediately intrigued by the title and subtitle. In the context of church life, I understood ministry and mission. I even understood mental health and mental illness–but madness? Sandwiched between ministry and mission, the frank term made me want to learn more.
Before I entered pastoral ministry, I was a political science major, an office worker, a grad student in theology, a lay church leader and worship committee member, a published writer, a journal keeper, a poet, a proof reader for an engineering firm, a college instructor, the wife of a law student turned professor, a daughter, a sister, and so much more. . . .
In The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I list a number of difficult employer/employee situations in church and Christian organizations and ask, “Why do churches and other Christian organizations seem to handle employee relationships so poorly? Or is it that Christian employees have unreasonable expectations of their employers? Why do apparently good, well-meaning, Christian people seem to struggle on both sides of the employer-employee relationship?”
When I started ministry as an interim pastor, the church’s associate pastor for youth was already planning to leave for medical school. He had served the church well for three years, the youth group was strong with excellent youth and adult leaders, and the church gave him a wonderful and tearful farewell. Today he is a practicing psychiatrist in another province, an active church member, and loves to work as a volunteer with youth.
Why he left and how he left was an open and positive experience.
I often think of the church as the body of Christ, a family of believers, a community of faith–and much less often as a “nonprofit organization.” That’s not a definition found in Scripture, yet in our twenty-first century, North American context, the church and church-related agencies do function as non-profit organizations with boards, budgets, personnel, and other responsibilities.
Toxic Skill (noun)
something that you do well, but brings no life or energy;
a skill that has overstepped its intended bounds.
I had never heard of a toxic skill until I read Your Vocational Credo by Deborah Koehn Loyd (InterVarsity Press, 2015), and I was immediately intrigued both by her term and the way she described it.