Category Archives: Church

We’re Moving!

Greetings to all the Well Choices family! Thanks for your support over the years. It has been my honor and privilege to tackle issues of faith and mental health over the years. I see  myself as a bridge, connecting faith communities with the mental health field. My goal is, and has always been, to expand the capacity we all have to access healing and to combat the stigma that keeps people from seeking out the help they need. Over the past year or so, my passion for this topic and providing support to a wide range of people has blossomed, and as a result, there are some exciting changes coming down the pike. I want you to be here for every minute of it so I invite you to join me as I transition this blog to my new website, DrJessicaBrown.Com!

WHAT I do isn’t changing, just WHERE I do it. Please take a moment and subscribe so you can get all the exciting updates that will be coming in 2019. I even have a free gift to offer you when you subscribe: “5 Steps to Capitalizing on Conflict.” I look forward to continuing to provide you with meaningful faith-based content….at my new home, DrJessicaBrown.com! 

Thanks for reading, and let’s keep making Well Choices together!

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Picking at Scabs

When you were a little kid, I’m willing to bet that at some point, you hurt yourself. That “boo boo” (as we lovingly call them) probably bled for a while, and then developed a scab. Scabs are not pretty, and sometimes they are uncomfortable. But they are important signs that the healing process is underway. What I remember vividly about this process is that my mother chided me not to pick the scab! I don’t know the science behind this, but the “mother wit” was clear– picking the scab slows down the process. For the person doing the healing, the NOT picking is hard. Scabs are itchy and achy- they beg to be tampered with! But based on what our mothers taught us, the impending healing was worth the self control it took to wait it out. Scabs provide the protection the wound needs so that healing can occur.

Now, imagine that you are someone actively engaged in the process of healing. Your scab is nagging, itchy, uncomfortable. But you are trusting the healing process and doing the work to get better. Then, someone else comes along, and picks at your scab. What a violation! How might this interaction delay the progress you have been fighting so hard for? I want to make the argument that this is what happens for people who are working to heal from the painful violation of trauma. The trauma causes an injury and for a while, it gushes and incapacitates. Then, they begin the slow process of healing. But often the outside world is not respectful of that healing process. People don’t understand the time and effort takes to heal. And sometimes, in their insensitivity, they pick at scabs, exposing the wounds people have been trying so desperately to recover from.

Consider that survivors of sexual trauma and sexual violence are a special case. While they should be a place of protection and healing, sometimes churches unintentionally and repeatedly pick at scabs, prolonging the healing process and dampening the spirits of those who desperately want to be free. This statement might have surprised you! It is certainly not the intention of the church to hurt people. And yet, sometimes our impact is the opposite. So, let’s talk about it. What is happening and what do we need to be mindful of? It’s important to know that trauma in its many forms, disturbs the sense of safety that a person might have. For many, after a trauma, the world in general and relationships in particular begin to feel incredibly dangerous. The church is not exempt from this. I’m just going to raise a few issues, with the knowledge that this is the tip of the iceberg, and a starting point for a much larger conversation.

First, let’s talk about bodies. In this case, not necessarily the “body of Christ” but human bodies. We often do not do a good job of respecting bodies and boundaries between bodies. It starts in childhood, when we make children hug and kiss people even when they clearly don’t want to, all in effort to be “polite.” A few months ago, we all watched (most of us unsurprised) as a preacher took liberties with the body of a woman he had just met, and disrespected, on a pulpit– all streamed live on national TV.  This was not something shocking, because many of us have seen something like this in our very own churches. The church, and the black church in particular, is heavily invested in body politics. Wear the right thing. Be presentable and put on your Sunday best, but don’t adorn yourself too much. If you had on the “wrong thing” then what did you expect to happen? People feel liberties to comment, touch, and police bodies that are not theirs, all for the sake of trying to ensure that people are presentable in some way. These violations that we make with the bodies of others, unwanted hugs, touches, and comments; send clear but implicit messages about blurred boundaries and recreate dangerous situations in which survivors had their safety shattered because someone did not respect the boundaries of their body. We blame victims when they do get violated, and we participate in a culture that supports rape. Picking at scabs.

In conversations about troubled relationships, we coach people to stay together no matter what, before stopping to ask if they are physically or emotionally safe. We push people to come together with the same family members who might have been the perpetrators of the trauma they experienced. We send strong messages about forgiveness, love, and reconciliation without taking the time to learn the nature of these relationships, or whether it is supportive of the individual person’s health to be connected with that person at this time. We don’t make the distinction that you can forgive someone without being closely connected to them in the way you once were. So, what they get is: Go back to your abuser. Deal with it because it’s the Christian thing to do. Often the responsibility is put on the victim rather than the abuser to resolve the issue. Picking at scabs.

Lastly, we tend to do a terrible job talking about sex! In our desire to steer people away from what we view as immoral sexual behavior, we often make the grave mistake of denying that we were designed as sexual beings. And so, our sexual questions, thoughts, and urges become taboo and forbidden. We work to deny that we are sexualixed, sometimes with the unfortunate consequence of inappropriate expressions of that repressed nature. When we can’t even talk about it, we get very little guidance on how to express our sexuality in healthy ways. Then, when people try to talk about sexual violence they have experienced, we focus on vilifying the sex part while becoming complicit in the violation itself. Picking at scabs.

With these in mind, here is a brief list of things we can do to make churches safer spaces for survivors:

    Give people (starting with children) the permission to OPT OUT of physical contact with others and protect their physical space.
    Err on the side of believing those who report sexual violence and sexual assaults. Less than 1% of reported assaults are fabricated, and there are many more who don’t report at all because they believe they will not be supported.
    Ask people if they are physically and emotionally safe. If they say no, work to get them connected with support swiftly.
    Engage in open and honest dialogue about sex and sexuality.
    Hold those who violate boundaries responsible for their actions, regardless of status or power in the community. Stop holding victims liable for what was perpetrated against them.

This is just a starting point. There is much work left to do! Thanks for reading, and make Well Choices!

The Suicidal Shepherd

A couple of weeks ago, my social media feed was in an uproar about the tragic suicide of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein, the Pastor of Inland Hills Church in Chino, CA. The 30-year old megachurch pastor had recently taken over after the death of his father, the founder of the church. He had just come back to the pulpit after an involuntary sabbatical due to severe mental and physical health concerns. In fact, the last sermon he preached was about Elijah; his feelings of hopelessness and suicidality. He shared about the symptoms he had experienced, and the difficulty he had managing the symptoms. He spoke about the visibility of mental health concerns in the bible and the need for the church to respond appropriately to mental illness. It seems, at least, that his church did! They offered support, encouraged him to take time away, and then welcomed him back when he appeared to be well. It is clear that this community loved their pastor, and that he loved them. So what happened?

I won’t pretend to know this church or the Stoecklein family, and so I won’t speculate about what did or didn’t happen. What I can say is that the more I hear about Pastor Stoecklein and his journey, the more I am reminded of just how insurmountable a task pastoring seems to have become. In my immediate response to the news, these words came: Pastors bear a heavy burden that most of us as parishioners cannot even imagine. They are charged with executing an unconditional love that they know from the start will be unrequited. They are held to an unreasonable standard and many are simultaneously compensated meagerly. The very same qualities of selflessness and service that make for beloved pastors also make for tired spouses and parents, and worn out people who may not feel the permission to take time for themselves.

Being in the role of pastor does not mean that these men and women don’t deal with the very harsh realities of being human. They are just as susceptible to a diagnosable mental illness as the rest of us. In fact, the stressors associated with the role are likely to increase their risk. It can be difficult to manage family and home life along with the relational and administrative responsibilities of pastoring. With the possible exception of large churches with a big professional staff, most pastors are asked to manage what would in any other context be several jobs: administrative head, visionary executive, supervisor of training and development, budget manager, congregant relations specialist, and the list goes on. It’s a lot for one person (or even a few people) to manage! While the call is a great honor, it is also a great responsibility. Some of us as parishioners have this sense that pastors must be special citizens in some way. We perceive them as being closer to God and somehow more able to manage the demands of life. I believe it is a great disservice to view pastors in this way. When we put them on such a high pedestal, we leave less room for their humanness to coexist with their call. Pastors are shepherds, not camels. They can guide, direct, and support our faith walk, but it’s not their responsibility to carry us. If we view them as human guides, rather than divine saviors, there is space for them to struggle with life just like we do. There is space for us to provide support to them, rather than them having a series of one-directional relationships where they always give and never receive.

I think another point here relates to the way we as the church view and talk about mental illness, which is continuing to evolve. Inland Hills knew their pastor struggled with mental illness. He had just been away for a few months to try to get better. But I imagine that most of them had a sense of relief when he came back “Whew! That’s over!” We often think about mental health symptoms as occurring in a discrete time period that eventually comes to an end. While for some people that might be the case, for others,  symptoms are a constant daily battle. There isn’t a point at which they simply go away. There is the struggle to manage these symptoms along with daily stressors. While it’s hard to think about and talk about, it’s not necessarily surprising that thoughts of suicide come up. For the vast majority of people who contemplate suicide, it’s really not about dying at all. It’s about escaping from a life where it feels like the walls are constantly closing in on you. Often, people who struggle with mental illness feel like they are burdensome to their friends and family, so there might also be the misguided belief that their death will sometimes be a relief to the people they are closest to. Often when we help people to put some of the pressure they feel into perspective and offer meaningful support, things can feel a little more manageable.

Sometimes those of us in the church will quickly move to demonize or rebuke those who attempt or complete suicide. We see this, as we do with so many other mental health concerns, as a failing of faith. For me, this is an overly simplistic view of human suffering. The reality is that while we endeavor to have hope, the realities of life sometimes make that hope difficult to grasp. In fact, sometimes our grasp of the possibilities of what life can (should) be, makes it difficult for us to deal with the reality of what life is. This is simply to say that thoughts of suicide are not about a failing of faith; they are a sign of intense suffering and inner turmoil. Rather than shaming people for having a thought that they can’t even control, our focus can be on the passionate dispensation of hope, which is one of the key tools we have in the fight against suicide. The fact that pastors, our spiritual leaders, might also struggle in this area is a reminder that they are first human beings. Human beings need love, support, encouragement and understanding no matter how close their relationship with God might be.

So, with September being Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I want to offer a couple of notes/thoughts for how we might help people who are struggling with contemplating suicide, particularly those who are in leadership:

1. It is not worth the chance to minimize the seriousness of a mental health crisis. When you notice that you are someone you love is experiencing concerning symptoms, take action. Call a crisis line, contact a mental health provider, or get them to an emergency room. Here are some resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255; Website

Therapist Directories:

PsychologyToday; Therapy for Black Girls; Therapy for Black Men;

2. If you are in a position where you can offer support, do it. Be a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or a comforting presence. People who are suffering don’t always feel the strength to ask for help, so do it without asking. Check in on people when they seem to be acting differently.

3. Remind yourself and others to give people room for mistakes. One of the biggest challenges I hear when I talk to pastors is that they feel that the stakes are high ALL THE TIME. There is a sense that if they make one mistake, there might be dire consequences that will be difficult to correct. Maybe membership will go down, or offerings will decrease. Ministries will fail or a reputation will be damaged. While there are certainly egregious mistakes that could yield these results, some “mistakes” are simply miscommunications or miscalculations that can be easily corrected if we simply extend grace the way we wish it to be granted to us.

4. Consider how you resource your leaders: money and compensation, time and resources to take vacation, get continuing education, prepare for retirement, and see preventative and problem-focused medical and mental health care. Leaders are people, not machines. We can’t expect them to go non-stop. In fact, the most effective leaders are ones who take meaningful time away from their work.

Above all, remember that God’s word calls us to love each other and to be present and active in responding to one another’s pain.

Recall the familiar passage from Ecclesiastes 4 (verses 9-12):

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Our responsibility is to work to ensure that people in our community never feel alone! Burdens are easier to bear when someone is walking beside us. Things feel more manageable when we know someone has our back. We feel a little more powerful when we know someone is praying for us. Take a moment to do an inventory: Who might need you to reach out and check on them? What leader in your life can you pray for or encourage today? Maybe you are the one who needs support. In that case, who can you be honest with about how you are truly feeling? What offer of support can you take someone up on today. Where can you go or what activity can you engage in to get some rest and restoration. The time is now. Don’t wait!

Thanks for reading, and make Well Choices!

10 Things Your Church Member with Mental Illness Wants You to Know

I’m a church girl- always have been, probably always will be. I love church, I love the people in church, and I love all the possibilities of what the church can be. What I don’t love, is the way the church can tend to brush difficult conversations under the rug or make people to feel as though the problems in their life are the simple result of not enough faith. It’s just not that simple. Bad things happen to people who deserve it, and bad things happen to those who don’t. One of the areas where we seem to throw the most blame is those suffering with mental illness. They somehow become the “black sheep” of our communities, those who suffer silently, who pretend everything is OK because they are worried they will be chastised if they admit they are drowning. I think that most of us have good intentions. Because we believe in God’s omnipotence, we offer faith as the cure-all for every ailment. While that’s helpful, it’s not good enough to stop there. We don’t tell people with heart disease to just pray. We tell them to pray, and then go to the doctor. Mental illness is no different. In fact, we NEED to talk about it because 1 in 5 Americans is living with a  mental illness, including the folks you go to church with every Sunday! If you took the time to talk to one of these folks, here are some things they might say

  1. I have already prayed about it, and I will continue to pray about it. But sometimes I pray and nothing has changed yet. I need something else in addition to prayer.
  2. I can’t just turn it off, or “think positively,” I struggle every day to do all the things I’m supposed to do, and sometimes I am overwhelmed by my negative thoughts and emotions.
  3. I don’t always need advice. Sometimes, I just need you to listen and to know that you are there and you support me.
  4. I’m scared to tell people about what I deal with on a daily basis because I’m afraid they will judge me or think I’m “crazy.” I’m not crazy, I just struggle.
  5. What I face is not just mental- it’s emotional and even physical at times.
  6. I have thought about suicide. I don’t want to die, but sometimes it seems like the only way out.
  7. There are times I feel like no one understands what I’m going through, so I keep things to myself. It helps when other people share that they have struggles too.
  8. I put on a brave face so people won’t think I’m weak or faithless. I worry that if they know how much I hurt, they would think I’m not capable of anything.
  9. I am not my mental illness. I’m a person who lives with mental illness.
  10. I can get better if I have the right resources and support.

 

One of the best ways we can end stigma is by breaking the silence about mental health issues. You or someone you know has been affected by mental illness, I guarantee it. Your talking about it could be the thing that gives someone else permission to speak up and get the help they need. So don’t remain silent, let’s talk about it!

If you want to learn more about mental illness and what you can do to help, check out http://www.Nami.org for more information.

Thanks for reading and make Well Choices!

 

When it’s Hard to See the Why

Recently I’ve been dealing with a situation that is stressful and very frustrating for me. My expectations for what I thought was supposed to happen aren’t being met, and I feel as though my hands are tied– I can’t really do much to change what’s happening. Admittedly, I’m a control freak. Sometimes, I get into these types of situations because I have inappropriate expectations in an environment, or I’m being too rigid. But, I’m about 95% sure I’m being reasonable in this situation (my husband thinks so too, and he’s usually the first one to check me! 🙂 Anyway, I have all this frustration that I really can’t fix, so I decided to seek out the Serenity Prayer. I’ve been focusing on my prayer life anyway and I thought it would be a good practice for me to meditate on it for the week. Now, I can recite the beginning of the Serenity Prayer by heart. However, I recently realized there’s more to it! Here’s the whole thing:

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

I read it a couple of times, and instantly felt myself calm. The scripture from Romans 8:28 came to my mind: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even when things don’t seem ok, they will be ok. Woo- Sah.

Then, the next day, I ran into this article: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/no-everything-does-not-happen-reason. The author states that “No, everything doesn’t happen for a reason” and makes this argument about our insistence on using this language:

It serves as an emotional distraction, one that cheats us out of the full measure of our real-time grief and outrage. We stutter and stop to try and find the whys of all of the suffering, instead of just letting ourselves admit that perhaps this all simply sucks on a grand scale.

In our profound distress, this idea forces us to run down dark, twisted rabbit trails, looking for the specific part of the greater plan that this suffering all fits into.

Even if somewhere beneath all of it; far below all the dizzying trauma that we experience here there is a fixed, redemptive reason for it all, it’s one that will likely remain well beyond our understanding so long as we inhabit flesh and blood.

Well, now I’m confused. Both of these things really do make sense to me. I want to believe that there is a purpose for my frustration and suffering, but I also want to feel justified in being angry, or upset, or saddened by what happens in my life. The therapist in me craves the validation of my human reactions to things, and I’ll admit that sometimes it seems our religious mindset does attempt to minimize or do away with our humanness. The author cited above goes on to say that while he doesn’t believe hard times are caused by God. He does believe there is something to be learned in the sacredness of suffering. I have to agree.

What I’m not ok with, is our using Romans 8:28 as a tool for shutting people up when they’re expressing frustration, or placating those who suffer rather than showing them our love and support. I also hope we can honestly admit at times, “I don’t know why this is happening. It doesn’t make sense. It feels unfair” and still believe in the omnipotence of God and our ability to withstand struggle. I haven’t found any scripture that says we aren’t allowed to feel sadness, anger, or frustration, even if those emotions are directed at God. If you don’t believe me, check out Psalms. Talk about honesty!

So, when I face these times, I’ll try to focus on how I can learn or grow, and something new I can learn about God. It won’t be easy, and I can’t even honestly say I look forward to the challenge. But, I do think it will be rewarding. Thanks for reading, and make Well Choices!

What’s the Point of Church?

I ran across an Article recently on the “Spiritual Openness of Younger Unchurched” that basically challenges the notion that Christianity is dying in America. The article makes the argument that while church attendance is declining, young adults in particular are actually open to the idea of spirituality and religion, but seem to be resistant to the idea of church. The article provides these statistics from a Lifeway Research study:

The overwhelming majority believe the church is full of hypocrites (67% of young unchurched). A significant group, approximately 39%, believe their lifestyle wouldn’t be accepted at most Christian churches. Finally, about 90% of young unchurched think they can have a good relationship with God without the church.

I have to admit, I’ve heard plenty of people say something to the effect of “I don’t do church” and I would bet, it’s because of these things- feeling like church folk say one thing and do another, or feeling like they would be judged at churches. Still, there are others who feel that they can have a great relationship with God without needing to go to church. However, according to the study these same people were open to hearing about God, going to bible study, or joining a small group. So, it doesn’t seem like a resistance to God, maybe just a resistance to church. Though I’m not in the camp of folks who believe this, I can understand the sentiment. So, what does this mean? Do we not need church anymore?

I would say that yes, we do. But, it’s high time that we start taking some of the criticisms of the church critically. Why would people want to come to a place where they feel they will be judged by people who do (or have done) the same things? What’s the draw? For me, the draw is connection; not just to God (you can get God alone), but to others who you know share the same values and are along the same journey. But, just like any other organization with humans in it, church can get cliquish, complicated, political, etc. These are the things that can sometimes get in the way, especially for people who are new to church. I also think that we have a really limiting definition of church. My pastor preached a sermon last week about the importance of what we do outside the church walls- what we do at work, at the grocery store, and at the gas station is also a representation of the church. What if our behavior at the grocery store made people want to come to church?

I love my church and THE CHURCH and I see the benefits of it. I also understand why some people won’t step foot near a church. We all have our reasons. The part that is most disheartening is that there are people who are yearning for Christ, but can’t get what they need because we humans are in the way. There are so many people who need connection, home, family, support, and love. We have the opportunity to be just what people need, if we get out of the way. My hope is that church can be a place where everyone can get their questions answered, feel as though they are an important part of a community, and be spiritually nourished. I think a lot of the responsibility is on us to walk the talk, to be people who exemplify Christ and draw people to God just like moths to a flame. We should be that contagious! This extends not only to our conversations, but also to our social media presence, our demeanor at work, any time we are around others. It means that we can endeavor to be forgiving, loving, understanding, and kind. Even when we don’t feel like it. Even at the end of a long day. This idea is not new at all, but I believe many of us have lost our way. Here are some scriptures to remind us:

Matthew 5:14-16:  You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Peter 3:15:  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

John 13:35: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

So, let’s endeavor to be the kind of people that people will follow to church! Thanks for reading, and make Well Choices!

Reasons You Should Be Praying for Your Pastor

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I was having a conversation with some Minister’s Wives and Widows about some of the challenges associated with being a “PK” (pastor’s kid) and it reminded me of the heavy mantle that pastors and their families are charged with carrying in the church. That reality was all I knew growing up, and it had both perks and challenges. Because I was a kid, I didn’t really have choices or even the skills sometimes to navigate the challenges I faced. I think my parents did an awesome job trying to provide balance for me, and still, there were times when it was really hard. There were other times when it was really cool. Both of those things are true. Preparing for the meeting really caused me to reflect on some of my experiences and now that as an adult I’m not in the same position, I am reminded of the importance of praying for my pastor and his family. Here are some reasons why:

1. Pastors and their families are always being watched. Growing up, I almost always felt like I was “in the spotlight.” Because my dad was a pastor and my mom was a minister, people knew who I was, even if they didn’t know who is was. I could pretty much count on any little mistake or accomplishment being reported to my parents quickly. (Actually, that still happens!) Pastors and their families are humans just like the rest of us, but our expectations often equate them to superhuman robots who aren’t allowed to make mistakes. It’s just not realistic. Your pastor, despite her close relationship with God, will sometimes make an error. His children might not be able to recite every single memory verse from last week’s Sunday school lesson. This is not some great tragedy. It is human nature. As a child, this sometimes felt to me that I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes and I tried to perfect. To be fair, this was not an expectation placed on me by my parents. But, I felt it and carried it and still fight with it to this day.  I try to remember that my pastor and his family are humans like me. I try not to put them on an impossibly high pedestal.

2. Pastors and their families care deeply about the people they serve. Being in leadership at a church comes at great emotional cost. All of us have friends and family that we care about and want the best for. Just imagine if a couple hundred extra people were added to your list! It takes a lot of emotional and spiritual energy to care about, pray for, support, and love on the people in our congregations. The challenge is that because they are in a leadership role, we sometimes forget to tangibly give them that love and support back. Pastor’s are on call 24/7. I remember 3am phone calls, after church visits, late nights, early mornings, you name it. All of that, they do in love. Because they care about their parishioners- mind, body, and soul. The least we can do in return is pray for them, that God restores everything that they pour out into us. It’s a big responsibility and it comes at a cost.

3. Relationships can be challenging for Pastors and their families. They can be tricky because people want you to be there for them, but they can’t always handle when you have needs. Maybe they want to tell you certain things, but they have this perception that there are other parts that should be kept from you because of your perceived status. Guess what? This happens to the kids too! It can be hard to find people with whom you can be your whole self and not be worried about it being shared or held against you later. The life of ministry can be lonely- people don’t know how to interact with you sometimes. They might think that they have to censor themselves around you. You don’t get invited to stuff if certain activities are going on. The reasons make sense, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult.

4. Pastors can have an over-developed sense of responsibility. As noted in “2” above, pastors are often the kind of people who care deeply about others. It can make them really good at their jobs, and really bad at caring for themselves. My father was the victim of burnout the led to depression. He did a great job being a pastor but he had to relearn how to care for himself. Pastors are more likely to experience marital and family problems, health issues, be overweight, and suffer from mental health concerns than the regular population. All you have to do is a quick Google search to see how much of an issue this is. In addition to praying for our pastors, we can encourage them to take time away from us to restore. How about a paid vacation? How about showing up to church even when you pastor isn’t preaching? How about respecting other church leaders so the pastor doesn’t feel like things will go awry if they go away for a week?

These are just a few reasons to pray for your pastor; there are many, many more. The bottom line is they need you to pray for them just like you need them to pray for you! Take a minute today and pray for your pastor.
Thanks for reading, and make Well Choices!