You’re there. You’re present. At every regular church service, at every church-sponsored event, every committee meeting, leadership meeting, church member’s kid’s birthday party and ball game, you are there showing your support and offering pastoral care to your congregation. The calling God has placed on your life is great – and the responsibility is huge. With all the time you’re spending caring for other people, who is caring for you?
How many times have you laid in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep, because of concerns for your congregation? How many times have you felt like you’ve failed your family because you had to take care of someone else’s family? And how many times have you felt like giving up when yet another person approached you after a sermon to say something so hurtful, frustrating and downright mean.
Being a pastor is hard work
You’re not alone in the way you’re feeling. According to a study by the New York Times, “Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension, and depression at rates higher than most Americans. Over the course of the last couple decades, the use of antidepressants by pastors has risen, while their life expectancy has gone down. In fact, in one survey by the paper, a majority of pastors responded that they would change jobs if they could.
How can this calling God has placed in your life become so difficult? Many pastors are struggling. According to research by the New York Times, the results are shocking:
- 13% of active pastors find themselves divorced.
- 23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.
- 25% don’t know where to turn when they have a family crisis, a personal conflict or issue that needs to be dealt with.
- 25% of pastors’ spouses see the pastor’s work schedule as a source of conflict.
- 33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
- 1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.
So many of pastors are living with “functional depression”. And many are living life and working in ministry incredibly isolated. Nobody understands the amount of pressure you’re under. Nobody gets how much work and how many hours you’re putting in.
It’s time to take care of yourself
How many times have you counseling with your church members, offering insight, hope, and direction? Why haven’t you given yourself that same level of care? There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help.
At Revive Christian Counseling, we’ll look at the situations you’re facing. You’ll get support and care when you need it, in a confidential, safe environment. So many times, ministers of the Gospel are placed on pedestals and are expected to have everything together. You’re expected to be perfect. Your family is supposed to be perfect. And struggles aren’t supposed to be a big deal for you.
Here, you don’t have to be perfect.
When you’re the person who is supposed to have it all together, the thought of going to someone to talk about your struggles can make you feel a little nervous. It’s scary to admit things to a complete stranger that you wouldn’t be comfortable even telling your best friend.
That’s actually one of the greatest things about counseling for pastors. Our office is a safe, judgement-free place. Even if you don’t know what in the world is wrong with you, you’ll be in a good place to work it out and figure out where to go from here. We work with pastors who are struggling in their marriages, having trouble with friendships, dealing with pornography, and who are just having a hard time managing the day-to-day stresses.
What to expect
First and foremost, we strive to make our office one of the most comfortable places you’ll find yourself. It’s a place where people have talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly. When you come here, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you say, you’re not judged and you’re not condemned. You can come in confident that whatever you share and whatever you say stays between you and your therapist. And no matter what you reveal – you’re in a safe place to share your heart.
In counseling, we’ll walk through the struggles you’re facing and look to see what brought you there. We’re not so much interested in beating you over the head with the mistakes you’ve made, but rather, where you can go from here. We’ll look at what God says about the situation and how He calls us to live. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about your needs – how to put them into words – and your strengths and weaknesses.
What you’ll learn
Since counseling is a little different for everyone, we’ll start right where you are depending on your unique situation. For many, as you begin understanding how God created you and you learn your own identity, we’ll use different resources to help you get past what you’re struggling with. Sometimes, it may be a workbook, or some type of work to take home with you between sessions, or maybe some reading or journaling. Your process through counseling can be just as unique as you are. But ultimately, what you’ll walk away with is a sense of God’s love and grace, no matter what you’ve been through.
Clinicians who provide Counseling for Pastors:
Zakk Gammon, PhD, LCPC, BCMFT
270.926.6957 X 103
Dr. Zakk Gammon is a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, Board Certified Marriage & Family Therapist and Advanced Certified Temperament Counselor serving clients in our Owensboro office.