Self care is a new buzz word in seminary and pastoral circles these days. It seems the average burn out for new pastors is 5 to 7 years. Lack of self care is a major reason for burn out. For in ministry, it is so easy to care for others and put off caring for oneself.
So, I call upon all ministers and congregations to begin conversations about self care. It is important for the health of the pastor and the health of the congregation. The quality of hours spent in ministry is more important than the quantity of hours spent in ministry. After all, isn’t this practicing what we preach?
Pastors need to take time for self care. Congregations (personnel committees?) can be accountability partners with pastors to encourage time for self care. This is a healthy relationship, friends.
I would like to introduce you to a new resource for pastors seeking self care: www.runrevrun.net. This new website is supported by a community of authors sharing our own journeys of finding balance and a healthy lifestyle. We hope it will be a blessing to you. And, we encourage your participation to comment and share your journey with us.
My first post is copied below. I encourage those of you in any form of ministry seeking self care to check out www.runrevrun.net You will find encouragement, information, formation, and friend in the faith.
May you be blessed with the renewal found in self care!
April 3, 2011 #RunRevRun
I started running to survive. It was this time of year, actually. It was eleven years ago. Our third child almost died one Monday evening in April of 2000. He spent a week in trauma ICU at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. We had moved out of our home to remodel. My husband was dealing with a very unpleasant situation in his company. Life was out-of-control, scary, not what we had planned.
I had to do something to help ground me. So, I began to run. I wish it had been as easy for me as was for Forest Gump. I did NOT take off running and never stop. I realized during my first run that there is an art to running. It is all about the breath. Well, once I found good shoes, it was all about the breath.
Running is about finding the pace in breathing. Then the distance comes along with time. When the breath became steady, running became contemplative for me.
I can think when I run.
I can pray when I run.
I can work things out when I run.
I can listen to God when I run.
I am not a treadmill runner. I have one for necessary occasions, but it sits lonely most of the time. I need to be outside with nature, watching the birds, the squirrels, the butterflies, and whatever else comes along the way. I take time to stop and enjoy the God’s creation along the way. Take time to slow down and to stretch after. It will make tomorrow’s run much more enjoyable.
My words today are to encourage you. I encourage you to find something that not only helps you survive but will help you thrive in your ministry.