Supporting your pastor

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8943594714_ae8f9a8656_bIn Spirited Life and on this blog, we typically offer up ways that pastors can take charge of their health and implement new habits in their lives to support their own wellness.  We realized that most of us Spirited Life staff and many of our blog readers are lay people.  What can WE do as parishioners, lay leaders, committee members to help promote the health and well-being of the pastors at our own churches?  Here are some ideas our team generated.

  • Ask pastors about their hobbies and interests and support them in doing those activities.
  • Encourage them to take ALL of their vacation and volunteer to help with tasks in their absence.
  • Offer ‘spaces away’ for pastors to go for time of rest and renewal or uninterrupted work.
  • Limit ‘dropping in’ on pastors, realizing that talking to them for ‘just a minute’ likely will end up as a 15 minute conversation and distract them from other tasks.
  • Affirm and encourage your pastor by giving specific feedback on a sermon or Bible study you enjoyed; mention an occasion where you acted on something she preached or prayed.
  • 5445646178_f8e9522b4c_bWhen it comes to gift giving, think outside of the pound cake.  Here are some alternatives: gift cards for massage therapy, candles, new books, houseplants, hobby-related items.
  • Agree to a walking meeting or suggest an alternative meeting location such as a local park or picnic area.
  • Generate energy around health and well being among your congregation and community: organize a church walking/running group, health fair, or health-related discussion series.
  • Meet with church leadership and discuss what current ministries could be led by lay people instead of clergy.
  • Respect your pastor’s day off and Sabbath time by not calling or scheduling meetings on those days.
  • Encourage your church to observe pastor appreciation month in October each year.

What are other ways that churches can support their pastors’ holistic health?

-Katie Huffman

Images by flickr users NCinDC and hellojenuine, via creative commons.

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