I don’t think of myself as part of a clergy health crisis. Although my blood…
I’m a long way from the streets of Calcutta where Mother Teresa focused her ministry, but as I reflect on her life, I’m struck by three key lessons for me and for anyone in Christian service:
When you work for the church or other Christian organization, it’s most helpful to have a clear job description and contract, regular reviews, and other personnel policies and practices that are respectful of both employer and employee.
But beyond the legalities and policies that are part of the employer-employee relationship is the covenant community we share with one another as part of the body of Christ. We are not only employer and employee to one another, but brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
One way we can live that out is by praying for one another.
In the context of Christian ministry, boundary training is often presented as training to prevent sexual misconduct. In my denomination for example, all new pastors take a Relationships with Integrity seminar, with a refresher course every six years. Given the seriousness of professional sexual misconduct and abuse, such training is essential.
At the same time, good boundaries can be more than a negative restriction to prevent sexual misconduct.
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. . . .