Personal Resources for Managing Stress.
The discussion will now cover some of the resources that are available in
varying degrees to enable you to manage stress.
The ministry is the only major profession
that, without hesitation can discuss spirituality as a principle
resource for dealing with stress and other problems.
Chaplain's Family or its Equivalent. Even singles can develop a sense
of family among their parish, unit and in other groups. The point is,
you need networks of relationships to help you deal with stress. The
family is ideal for this.
Discovering and Using One's Major Interests.
Many pastors believe
that what interests them has little to do with the practice of
But just the opposite is true.
Whatever makes up your
unique personality is what will make your style and ministry unique.
You must recognize the difference between abilities and interests, however,
you may have a particular skill, but not have any interest or pleasure in
Or, you may have an interest in a field, but no talent in it.
Ministries grow by using what you know and do best to reach and help others
Each pastor should conduct occasional self-evaluation by asking: "how much
of my time and effort involve areas of my major interests?" If the answer
is 65 percent or less, the pastor is experiencing too much boredom and is
probably frustrated. When there is LESS interest, there is MORE stress.
Predictable Crises in a Pastor's Career.
James Glasse has suggested that throughout the development of a pastor's
career, there will be three predictable crises:
The first crisis will occur within the first three to five years.
It occurs because the pastor has the shock of making the
transition from being a full-time student to becoming a full-time
parish minister. The questions arises "Is this the work I really
want to do?" The pastor will probably resolve the crisis by the
fifth year by examining the various options and making a basic
The second crisis is the "point of no return." For the chaplain,
this occurs between the eighth and tenth year. They may know how
far they want to go; but may not have gotten to the point they
had expected. They can decide to "live with it" or may decide to
get out. Some will not make a clear decision and will choose to
just hang on and vent their dissatisfactions through the
The third crisis discussed by Glasse is when retirement
Frequently, pastors are neither emotionally
financially prepared for this transition.