I am a Conference Personnel Minister. Most of my work is supporting healthy pastoral relationships through support to ministers, and Ministry and Personnel Committees (volunteers at the local church level who consult with and support their minister). Through my relationship with ministers and those who support them, I’ve come to think that the work (both physical labour and emotional labour) of ministers is increasing. The main reason it is increasing is because most churches are in some kind of transition. Some communities of faith are growing. Some are getting smaller. Some are struggling to find a renewed sense of mission and some are struggling to pay their bills every month. There are many more part-time ministries than just 7 years ago when I began this work. Ministers in paid accountable ministry are working to provide faithful leadership through all kinds of change – some of the change affecting their livelihoods.
So I would like to blog about resiliency and ministry. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back after a negative or difficult experience. Resiliency has more to do with the emotional labour I mentioned earlier. Emotional labour of ministry personnel has a lot to do with our souls – the piece of us that makes us “us”, the God-given beauty and light that is within each of us. I think that our souls can be wounded through life experiences that are hard. I am not a psychologist or expert. But I do know what it is like to walk through a really difficult conflict with a congregation and come away somehow weaker, more fragile and depleted. I had expended large amount of emotional labour and my soul was tender and tired.
Resiliency for me is nurturing my soul, holding myself tenderly and lovingly for a time until I can recover enough to carry on faithfully.
So that’s what I want to blog about – resiliency and ministry, because I am a fan of ministers who day after day, give huge amounts of emotional labour and some of that labour touches their souls deeply.