Posted on February 2, 2021 8:00 AM by Scott Kennedy
Not too long ago, many CABA pastors participated in a workshop based on Paul Tripp’s book: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. It should be most alarming that several of the pastors that endorsed Tripp’s book (James MacDonald, Tullian Tchividjian, Joshua Harris), now represent the dangers addressed within the book.
Everyone experiences problems, including pastors and their families. Sometimes these problems can be self-managed. Other times these problems require outside help. For pastors, some of the unique challenges that come with the position make it extraordinarily difficult for them or their families to seek help when necessary.
In most vocations, employees are evaluated for the job they do by one or more supervisors. Their personal and family lives are mostly off-limits unless job productivity becomes an issue. Not so for a pastor. A pastor’s work environment is unique. What job, other than pastoring, requires an employee to bring his entire family to work with him at least one day a week, week-after-week? A pastor’s work, personal, and family life are all interconnected and under the scrutiny by not just a few people, but the entire organization.
Additionally, for most people there is a clear demarcation between one’s source of compensation and one’s source of community support. People go to work for compensation. People go to their church for community support. The functions of each are not combined into one as they are for a pastor and his family.
While there are numerous barriers people must overcome before seeking outside help for their problems, because a pastor’s compensation and community are intertwined, the risk associated with seeking help for he or his family is often greater. If he or his family’s problems become public, he may lose his source of compensation, which only further compounds and complicates his problems. If he loses his source of compensation, his source of community support for he and his family will likely follow as well.
--Scott Kennedy is a biblical counselor available via CABA. Participate in his Zoom Meeting on March 17 at 10:00 a.m. A link is to be emailed to CABA pastors.