Christian Wellness: Chapter 3-Restoring & Living in Christian Wellness


Chapter 3

RESTORING AND LIVING IN CHRISTIAN WELLNESS

Introduction

Having seen how various factors work together to draw pastors away from their shalom wellness in Jesus Christ, one wonders how pastors who are lacking wellness can  be restored.  Because denial is a roadblock to this restoration, it will be dealt with first, before considering the Gospel which applies in this case.  Then, an overview of 1 Kings 19 and other scriptural passages will provide a Biblical basis for a process of restoration, a process with four key components:  relationship, empathic love, truth, and forgiveness.  Examples will be given to show that Jesus Christ is not only the centre of Christian wellness, but also a model for Christian wellness.  Having considered the restoration of Christian wellness, the challenge of living in such wellness will be addressed.  Living in Christian wellness involves both “taking charge” and “letting go.”  With this understanding of what it means to live wellness, various ideas will be offered to pastors as they consider making their own choices toward wellness.

Dealing with Denial

The first step in restoring wellness for pastors is dealing with the denial that exists, both among individual pastors and corporately within congregations and in the Synod at large.  This denial is rooted in the expectation that exists among some pastors and some lay people that pastors should be totally selfless.  The imperative to deny oneself is sometimes understood as requiring a denial of one’s entire self, not just the sinful self, with the result that pastors are expected to model this self-abnegation to their congregation and their communities by not being concerned at all about their own personal needs or those of their families.  Some pastors buy into this line of thought and try to live their lives wholly for their congregation and the Church, denying their own human needs and those of their families.

This attitude is, however, idolatry, for when a pastor denies that he has human needs that need to be cared for, he is implying that he is something more than human, that he is approaching divinity.  The account in Genesis 1 and 2 makes it clear that God is the creator and we are the creatures.  He created our first parents, Adam and Eve, provided for their human needs by placing them in a garden that he had planted and gave them for food all of the seed-bearing plants and fruit trees of the earth.  He called them to work physically in the garden and care for it, and he gave them a day for rest and worship.  He knew that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so he created Eve from a part of Adam (Gen 1:26-31; 2:1-25).  Today also, God knows that he creates us as human beings with human limitations and human needs that have to be cared for.  Out of love for us, he places us in an environment where those human needs can be met.  When a pastor denies that he has these human needs, he denies that he is human and implies that he is a god.  As Harbaugh writes, “While a pastor’s theology may affirm that a person is not God, his or her practical theology, as applied to himself or herself, may support a style of service that has no room for human limitations or relaxation.”[1] When a pastor lives this kind of idolatry, there are consequences both for himself and those around him, for he will likely burn out himself and others in the congregation he is called to serve.[2]

God strongly warns against idolatry in the Ten Commandments:

You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Ex 20:4-6)

Yet this is the commandment with which pastors have the most trouble.

Congregations and denominations are guilty of this same idolatry.  They may confess an orthodox creed, but they relate to their pastors in a manner that fails to take into account those pastors’ humanity, their human limitations and their human needs.  The expectation seems to be that the pastors are beyond being human, and that would make them akin to gods.  None should treat their fellow creatures in this way.  In Revelation 22, John, after seeing all that had been revealed to him, fell at the feet of the angel who had been showing him all of these things.  But the angel said, “Do not do it!  I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book.  Worship God!” (Rev 22:8-9).  Though pastors hold a special office on behalf of the congregation, they are fellow servants of God, fellow human beings, and neighbours to the people of the congregation.  Therefore, they are to receive love and care from the congregation, the same kind of love and care that members give to themselves.  When congregations and denominations continually practice this kind of idolatry, they burn out the pastors whom God has given to them.[3]

The denial that restricts wellness can become a form of idolatry.  But there is another form of denial which facilitates poor stewardship.  In this form of denial, pastors acknowledge that they do have human needs, but then they do nothing to take care of those human needs.  In the parallel situation where a house is allowed to deteriorate by someone who has the means to maintain it, we recognize that that person is a poor steward of what God has given him.  When the engine in a car is destroyed because the owner did not have the engine oil changed regularly, it is clear that the car owner is not properly caring for his vehicle.  In the same way, pastors who do not properly take care of themselves are failing to care for a gift that is far more precious:  “my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties.”[4]

Congregations are also guilty of poor stewardship.  God has given a pastor to the congregation as a gift to equip them and to build them up in the faith.  As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11-12, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12 NKJ).  When a congregation pays its pastor less than what he needs to take care of himself and his family, when it provides housing that is inadequate for the pastor and his family, or when it fails to support its pastor in his efforts to take care of himself through rest, relaxation and recreation, it fails to care properly for a gift given to it by God.

The first step in restoring wellness is for pastors to confess and repent of their idolatry and their lack of good stewardship of themselves, and for congregations to confess and repent of their idolatry and their lack of proper stewardship of their pastor.

The Gospel for Pastors

One who serves in the Office of the Public Ministry is called by God through the congregation to serve as a pastor.[5] One’s understanding of each of these three phrases–“called by God,” “through the congregation,” and “to serve as a pastor”–can either lead to self-idolatry and poor stewardship of one’s self, or it can be the foundation of wellness and effective ministry.

To be called by God to serve in a special role is an awe-inspiring matter.  However, this call is often seen as an obligation:  “God has called me to be a pastor; therefore this is what I must do!”  When this happens, the ministry is experienced as a burden which requires the denying of one’s entire self.   But Jesus has lifted our burdens from us.  His words to us are:

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Mat 11:27-30)

Jesus promises to give us rest from our burdens.  The verb anapausis (“rest, refresh”) can refer to bodily rest, rest of the inner person, or heavenly rest, but in this case it refers to the entire saving work of Jesus Christ.[6] Jesus has borne completely our burden of trying to satisfy God through our efforts, and so, through him, we have anapausis, a genuine rest in the forgiveness of all of our sins.[7]

But what of the yoke that Jesus places upon us?  Is Jesus not just exchanging one burden for another?  R. C. H. Lenski identifies Jesus’ yoke and the rest that he gives as one and the same thing:  “Indeed, the gospel and the doctrine of faith are a yoke in that they are full of commands, all of them gospel commands, however, commands to take, to trust, to feast, to inherit, and the like.  The rest and the yoke are two pictures of the same blessing; by taking this yoke upon us we shall find rest for our souls.  Indeed, this is a yoke that rests its bearer.”[8] The yoke of Christ is rest for its bearer because the yoke is faith.  As Luther writes,

We are driven by many long and burdensome laws and works to become righteous; yet nothing comes of it. But Christ’s burden is light [Matt. 11:30] and soon produces an abundant righteousness, which consists in faith and trust and fulfils what Isaiah 10[:22] says, “A little perfection will bring a flood full of righteousness.” That [burden] is faith. It is a little thing, to which belong neither laws nor works; indeed it cuts off all laws and works, and fulfils all laws and works. Therefore there flows forth from it nothing but righteousness. For so perfect is faith that, without any other labor and law, it makes everything that man does acceptable and well pleasing to God.[9]

Jesus Christ has placed no burden upon us other than the burden to simply trust in him, and through that light burden of faith, whatever vocation we choose is pleasing to God because of Jesus Christ.  We have been freed by Jesus to be pastors or to serve in any other way.  A pastor does not have to be a pastor.  God does not demand that service from him.  Yes, a pastor has been given a divine call by God to serve in a special way.  But his salvation does not depend upon his service as a pastor.[10] Nor is a pastor closer to God than are other Christians.  As Walther states,

According to the Word of God, all believing Christians, and they only, are priests (a priestly state).  See 1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6.  There is among them no difference of rank; they are all together one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26); they are all brothers (Matt. 23:8-12).  But as in the Old Testament all sons of Aaron belonged to the priestly family and state, but only some performed the duty and service of a priest, so also in the New Testament those who perform the ministry of the Word are not for that reason priests or priests before others but merely those who minister among a priestly people.[11]

And so, if a pastor would really rather not be a pastor, or if he comes to realize that his gifts make him better suited for something else, he has the freedom to leave the ministry and go into another career.  If he desires to continue being a pastor but finds himself struggling in a ministry situation that has become a huge burden, God does not demand that he continue serving in that way.  There is a wide variety of ministry opportunities available, and pastors have the freedom to search out the type of ministry for which they are best suited.  Through Jesus Christ, all Christians have the freedom to serve God and others through the vocation in which they desire to serve, using the gifts that God has given them.  With pastors’ God-given desire and gifts as the basis for their motivation to serve in the ministry, confirmed as those desires and gifts are by the divine call from God through the congregation, the ministry becomes a wonderful privilege instead of a burdensome obligation.

The divine call to the Office of the Public Ministry comes through the congregation, and the pastor is a servant to the congregation.  For some pastors, the people of the congregation and their concerns and needs are given so much importance that everything else, including the pastor’s personal needs and those of his family, is in a far distant second place.  This congregation-centred concern can be so great that everything else in the pastor’s life is seen to have value only insofar as it works toward meeting the needs of the congregation.  When this happens, the pastor denies or subordinates his human needs.

But such a pastor has become a people-pleaser.  As Paul writes about his administration of the Gospel, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10).  But the opposite of being people-pleasers can be just as much of a problem for pastors when they withdraw from their congregation and isolate themselves in the church office and hide behind all of their theological books.[12] Pastors of this type decline to take care of themselves for the sake of being “faithful.”  Both groups of pastors, however, are driven by insecurity.  Insecure people-pleasing pastors seek the acceptance that they crave in the approval of others.  Insecure withdrawn pastors avoid confrontation and challenge by sticking to what is safe.

But Jesus answers all of our insecurities with an invitation to greater faith:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you” (Jn 14:1-2).  Jesus’ acceptance of all people is complete even before they believe in him.  As Paul says in his letter to the Romans, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).  Jesus’ assurance is that believers are always safe in him.  John records Jesus’ promise to those who follow him: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (Jn 10:28-29).  In the acceptance and safety given to them by Jesus Christ, pastors have the confidence to be faithful to God in their calling and in their care for themselves and their families, and involved in the lives of the people in the congregation that they serve.  As Paul writes to Pastor Timothy, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:7).

Serving as a pastor is usually seen as involvement in God’s work in a very visible way.  But a pastor can easily fall into the trap of thinking, “If this is God’s work, and God’s standard is perfection, then I must do his work perfectly.”  Thus, a pastor becomes mired in perfectionism and neglects to take care of himself in order to do God’s work perfectly.[13] But perfectionism is a sin.  As John writes, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8).  And perfectionism pulls us away from our humanness, which is often considered a burden and an obstacle to God’s work.  Yet what is often overlooked is that God has chosen to work through weakness taking on human flesh, suffering shame and humiliation on a cross.[14] And in that weakness, God performed the greatest work of salvation ever accomplished, winning a perfect forgiveness for all sins, including the sin of perfectionism.  God continued to work through the weakness of Paul, saying to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9a). To this Paul’s response was, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9b).  A theology of the cross acknowledges our helplessness and weakness, yet affirms with equal conviction that it is through our weakness and our wounds that God works to minister to others.[15] Thus, in our service as pastors, God calls us not to perfection, but back to our own humanness, and it is through our own humanness that we minister to others.[16]

As frail, fallible human beings who are nevertheless secure in the acceptance, safety and confidence that Christians have in Jesus Christ, pastors willingly and freely serve as pastors among God’s people.  In God’s love and forgiveness, pastors are free to reflect on their own personal wellness and value it for the sake of good stewardship, and for the sake of effective ministry.

A Scriptural Process for Restoring and Maintaining Wellness:  1 Kings 19

A model for restoring wellness is described in 1 Kings 19:1-18.  After the wondrous events on Mt. Carmel, Elijah was marked for death by Jezebel.  Afraid for his life, he fled into the desert near Beersheba.  He was exhausted, and wanted to die.  Elijah was lacking wellness and was burnt out.  He laid down under a broom tree and fell asleep.  After some rest, an angel of the Lord awakened Elijah and gave him some food and water.  After eating and drinking, Elijah rested some more.  A little while later, the angel awakened him again and gave him more nourishment.  After eating and drinking, Elijah traveled for forty days and nights through the desert to the mountain of God.

There God met with Elijah, not in the wind or the fire or the earthquake, but in a gentle whisper.  The Lord asked Elijah what he was doing there and Elijah responded with a lament about how he was the only one left who still followed the Lord while all of the others had turned away from God and were threatening to kill him.

God responded with the truth that there were still seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal, and He sent Elijah back into the world, renewed, refreshed and knowing the truth, where he continued to serve God as his prophet.

There are several steps within this scriptural account which are helpful in the restoration of pastoral wellness.  First, Elijah physically exited his stressful everyday world (two pastors with a combined experience of thirty years mentioned in interviews how helpful they found it to physically get away from their parish for periods of time each year).[17] Next, he rested and he received nourishment for his body (note the importance of diet in the survey results).  Third, he was in relationship and dialogue with someone who truly loved and cared for him (“It is not good for the man to be alone” Gen 2:18), in this case, God.  Fourth, God listened while Elijah shared what was on his heart.  Fifth, God brought Elijah to an awareness of the truth.  Sixth, with that truth, God sent Elijah back out into the world.  Steps like these are used in Christian worship services, pastoral counselling sessions and spiritual retreats, and these same steps constitute a process whereby wellness may be restored to unwell pastors.

Keys for Christian Wellness

An examination of the 1 Kings 19 passage and other scriptural evidence suggests that there are four key components in restoring wellness:  relationship, empathic love, truth and forgiveness.  The relationship that restored Elijah to wellness was his relationship with God.  In God, Elijah had someone who knew him intimately, who cared about him and only wanted the best for him, who would listen to him and would dialogue with him about the truth.

Relationship

Humans were meant to be in relationship.  In Genesis 2:18a, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”  Thus God was motivated to create a woman and to then join Adam and Eve together in marriage.  However, God’s statement was not only recognition of the value of a marriage relationship.  It also represents an awareness by our Creator that we were designed to be in relationship with other human beings.

The summation of the law in “the Two Great Commandments” (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength . . . [and] love your neighbour as yourself”) reinforces the importance of relationship, both vertically with God and horizontally with our neighbour (Mk 12:30-31).[18] As the Holy Spirit creates faith in people’s hearts, they are called into relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and into relationship with all other believers in Christ within the Christian Church.  As Luther writes in the explanation to the Third Article of the Creed,

I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my LORD or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith.[19]

And our relationship with other believers within the church is to be intimately connected, inter-connected and inter-dependent, like the relationship between the various parts of a human body.  As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans,  “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Rom 12:4-5).

Not only are humans meant to be in relationship, it is through relationship that healing and restoration takes place.  In the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul states:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:17-20)

The reconciliation that Christians have with God through Jesus Christ, which is the basis of healing, restoration and wellness, is given to them through the message of reconciliation, the Gospel, which is transmitted from person to person by people in relationship with each other.  An evangelist, a pastor, a Christian counsellor and a lay believer are all in relationship with the people to whom they speak God’s message of reconciliation.

The Gospel message is almost always presented in the context of relationships, and these relationships are important for reinforcing the message of reconciliation.  Pieper emphasizes the values of relationships as he discusses the importance of properly distinguishing between Law and Gospel:

For thus to be kept [in a saving faith] is nothing else than, by the power of God, perpetually to distinguish between Law and Gospel, to oppose the condemnatory sentence of the Law, assailing us because of present and past sins, with the acquitting sentence of the Gospel.  Luther says:  “It is not in the power of man to shake off this frightful terror caused by the Law or any other sorrow of the heart” (St. L. IX:446).  Therefore he regards it wise for a Christian not to be alone, but to seek the companionship of a Christian brother, so that, when the reign of the Law and the reign of the Gospel begin to struggle in his heart, the Christian brother is at hand with a word of Gospel to set in motion the divine power of the Gospel against the condemnation of the Law.[20]

Thus, relationships are vital for bringing Christians back to the centre of their wellness, the reconciliation that they have with God and their fellow human beings through Jesus Christ.

Empathic Love

The second key component to a restoration of wellness is empathic love.  In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1).  He then goes on to describe this agape avga,ph love:  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor 13:4-7).  This is a love that only has the best interests of the other at heart.  Stauffer makes this clear in his distinction between  agape and eros:

The specific nature of agape becomes apparent at this point. Eros is a general love of the world seeking satisfaction wherever it can. Agape is a love which makes distinctions, choosing and keeping to its object. Eros is determined by a more or less indefinite impulsion towards its object.  Agape is a free and decisive act determined by its subject.  Eros in its highest sense is used of the upward impulsion of man, of his love for the divine.  Agape ‘Agapa/n relates for the most part to the love of God, to the love of the higher lifting up the lower, elevating the lower above others. Eros seeks in others the fulfilment of its own life’s hunger.  Agape must often be translated “to show love”; it is a giving, active love on the other’s behalf.[21]

So agape is the choosing, giving love of God which lifts us up as he gives it to us.[22]

This restoring love also has the particular quality of empathy.  Self-psychologist theorist Heinz Kohut recognized the value of empathy in restoring psychological wellness.[23] Randall, who applies Kohutian theory to the ecclesiastical context, defines empathy in the following manner:

First, empathy is the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person or of a group of persons.  In down-home language, it is the capacity to put yourself in the other’s shoes.  More formally stated, empathy is a self’s reverberating understanding and deep emotional resonance with the self of another, where the former shares for a time the psychic reality of the latter.[24]

Randall indicates that it is through empathy that we observe, understand and know the inner world of others.  It is also the basic mode by which we relate to one another.  Therefore, empathy is necessary for sustaining human life and for healthy psychological development, but also for the restoration of struggling and injured selves.  It serves not just a preparatory or adjunct function within a therapeutic relationship, whether it is pastoral care, pastoral counselling, or pastoral psychotherapy; it is the primary function.[25] Randall continues:

Selves of pastors and parishes are restored and maintained in the actual occasion of being responded to empathically, where a path of empathy is established between the self and its selfobjects.  Employing empathic observation, responding with empathic understanding, and fostering broad encompassing empathy in others constitutes the essence of the restoration of selves. Empathy is the grace of God by which the lives of struggling pastors and parishes are psychologically redeemed.[26]

Empathy is not just a concept from the realm of psychology.  For what could be more empathic than the Incarnation?  God could have continued to stand apart from His world and give the people of the world His laws and tell them of His love for them.  But He chose otherwise.  He could have saved the world in some other way, perhaps.  But He did not.  He chose to show His love for the people of the world by completely entering the world.

In becoming human, God acted as a substitute for all humans, the second Adam who successful completed what the first Adam failed to do.  But He also experienced humanness first hand.  Therefore, He understands from a human perspective what things are like for human beings.  He knows what it is like for a human to laugh and cry, to mourn and die.  And so when individual humans express the groaning of their hearts to God, He knows and understands their situation, not only from His omniscience but also from His empathy.

And if the Incarnation were not enough to reveal the Father’s empathy, He has also given his Holy Spirit to dwell within every believer.  The indwelling God knows intimately and personally what life is like for each individual Christian.  Together, the Incarnation and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit indicate that God loves humanity with an empathic love.  And it is through this empathic love that God has saved all believers from sin, death and the devil and given them the forgiveness of sins, healing and eternal life.  This is the epitome of a restoration to wellness.

Truth

In 1 Kings 19, God listened to Elijah express his concerns, and then he shares the truth with him: “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kgs 19:18).  God’s truth undercut the lie that Elijah had believed and lived, that he was the only faithful Israelite left and that all the others were trying to kill him.  God’s truth was in this way instrumental in Elijah’s restoration.

In the fourth Gospel, John records these words of Jesus: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31b-32 NASB).  The context indicates that Jesus is referring to the truth that the sins of every Christian are forgiven through faith in Him. But knowing the truth in any situation also sets Christians free from the lies and the lack of awareness that bind them.  And so the truth, as the remedy to sin, lies, and ignorance, is an important component in the restoration and maintenance of wellness.

The truth needs to be brought into the restorative relationship and it should be done with an empathic love.  In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul speaks of the importance of “speaking the truth in love” (Eph 4:15).  For the truth to have a therapeutic value, it needs to be accepted by the one seeking restoration.  Therefore, in love, the truth should be presented in a manner which is fitting for the circumstances.  This may involve a confrontational manner, i.e. in the face of denial; or a more nurturing, supportive approach, i.e. when painful issues are being discussed.  In any case, restoration toward wellness will involve the acceptance of truth.  This is an ongoing process because various issues from one’s past history or present life will generally arise over time and require illumination from the light of God’s truth.  The Christian God is a God of truth, and so acceptance of the truth is homolegeo; it is saying the same thing as God says.[27] It is confession.

Forgiveness

As important as knowing the truth is, truth is not enough for restoration.  For the truth behind any lack of wellness will be sin, human failure by commission or omission, either on the part of the unwell pastor, on the part of the prominent people in his life, or on the part of both.  And so, in the restoration and maintenance of wellness, there is a great need for the forgiveness that Jesus gives to all believers.  Sometimes, forgiveness needs to be given by the pastor to those who have failed him.  At other times, the struggle for a pastor is to accept the forgiveness that is already his.  There may be a need for a catharsis of bottled-up emotions before the offering or reception of forgiveness can be realized.[28] But forgiveness, both in terms of its extension and its acceptance, is a critical component in the restoration and maintenance of wellness.  Isaiah refers to the healing and restorative power of forgiveness as he writes about the Suffering Servant, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isa 53:5).

The On-going Need for Relationship, Empathic Love, Truth and Forgiveness

Relationship, empathic love, truth and forgiveness are all key components in the restoration of wellness.  However, unlike the one-time provision for these needs in the account of Elijah’s restoration in 1 Kings 19, wellness usually requires these components on a continuing basis.  This is evident from the time that Jesus spent with His disciples.  His interaction with them was not a one-time event, but an on-going process that involved each of the four key components.

If the time that the disciples spent with Jesus is analogous to time spent in seminary education, then the missionary life of Paul shows us that relationship, empathic love, truth and forgiveness are important throughout pastoral ministry also.  Paul usually traveled with fellow missionaries, and he maintained close relationships with the several Christians churches that he planted.  He revealed his empathic love in his letter to Philemon, “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints” (Phi 1:4-7).  Paul also wrote to Ephesus, emphasizing the importance of the truth spoken in love (Eph 4:15), and to the Colossian church, stressing forgiveness: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col 3:13).

Relationship, empathic love, truth and forgiveness are all vital components in the restoration and maintenance of pastoral wellness.  They have the potential to serve together to draw pastors back to the source of their wellness, Jesus Christ.

Jesus as Our Model for Wellness

Not only is Jesus Christ the source of our wellness, He is also our model for wellness.  There are several passages in Scripture that record Jesus’ withdrawal to solitary places for prayer and rest:

“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them” (Luke 4:42).

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” (Luke 6:12).

“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray” (Luke 9:28).

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples'” (Luke 11:1).

“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him” (Luke 22:39).

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone” (Mat 14:23).

“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray” (Mat 26:36).

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

“After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray” (Mark 6:46).

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray” (Mark 14:32).

Even though Jesus was true God and the only sinless human being, He still took care of Himself by taking time for rest and prayer.  Jesus is the picture of ideal humanness.  Therefore, that ideal is best approached not by denying one’s humanness, but by taking it up as Jesus did and by following His example of caring for one’s self, in one’s own finite and frail humanity.[29]

Living in Wellness

As believers are drawn back to the source of Christian wellness through a dedicated relationship with Jesus Christ, their challenge becomes one of living in the wellness that He has given them.  And this is indeed a challenge, for pastors, like the rest of the world, often focus on “doing” instead of “being.”  The drive to perform leads pastors away from their centre, which is the truth that Jesus Christ has bought them back from sin, death and the devil, has made them children of God and has given them the Holy Spirit who lives within them.  Focused on performance instead of their simple existence as forgiven children of God, pastors often go beyond their limitations and become so overtaxed and far from their centre that, when stressful situations arise, they have a crisis of identity: “Just who am I anyway?”   In focusing on performance, pastors often make decisions that work against their own personal wellness and that of their families, and maybe also the congregations that they serve.[30]

The challenge to pastors is to remember who they are and to be those persons.  They are forgiven children of God and, as God’s sons, they take charge of their own personal wellness so that they might better serve others, and they let go.  Realizing their limitations, they let go of the many things that they cannot control, and they trust in God and His grace to take care of them.[31] “Taking charge and letting go” is a paradox that is resolved when, as Harbaugh states, “we discern when to act and when to accept our inadequacy and give the problem over to God.”[32]

Therefore, as the forgiven children of God, pastors take charge and become aware of themselves.  They get to know their personal characteristics and discover how those characteristics can both help or hinder them.  Pastors take charge and remain vigilant about their own personal limits.  They remember that there is only so much they can do, and yet, it is enough.  Just as the establishment and maintenance of good fences is beneficial in neighbourly relations, so the establishment and maintenance of personal boundaries is beneficial as pastors relate with others.  Therefore, pastors take charge and make sure that they have strong boundaries between themselves and others.[33] And because personal wellness is important, both for an effective and durable ministry and because of the desire to be good stewards of all that God has given to them, pastors take charge and choose to practice wellness.  They choose to maintain some measure of balance between their work and the personal aspects of their lives, and they aim for balance between the six dimensions of wellness:  emotional, vocational, social, intellectual, spiritual and physical.

Because pastors are the forgiven children of God, they let go of many things.  They let go of all the things that are not their responsibility; they let go of all of the things over which they have no control, and they let go of all the things which they do not know.  They also acknowledge and let go of all of their shortcomings, failures and sins.  They let it all go and they trust in the forgiveness that is theirs through Jesus Christ.

Ideas for Practicing Wellness

Because of the wide variety of individuals and wellness levels, there will be much variation in how pastors approach wellness.  In the hope that they may be helpful, several ideas for wellness are offered in this section.  Pastors are encouraged to seek the approach that will work best for them and be the most beneficial to them as they seek to live in wellness.  It is possible that, as one considers various initiatives for wellness, they can become another set of laws that a pastor feels are being imposed upon him.  Should this happen, these initiatives can become a centrifugal force which pulls one away from, instead of toward, wellness in Jesus Christ.

Practicing wellness means, first of all, determining the things which one needs to let go.  These decisions can be made within the context of, and with the support of, a mentoring relationship.  It is also important to seek out a network of people who are supportive as one seeks to improve his own wellness.  This network can include family, friends, peers and people within the congregation that a pastor serves.

When there is more of a sense of hopefulness and optimism, then a pastor is able to consider various other opportunities for wellness.  Even then, the practice of Christian wellness is conducted in Christian freedom.  Believers are not required to practice Christian wellness to achieve peace with God.  Such peace is already theirs through Jesus Christ.  Nor are believers required to practice wellness in a particular manner.  Freed by such demands by the Gospel, and motivated by the grace of God, a pastor, like all other Christians, has the opportunity to pursue Christian wellness for his own sake and for the sake of those around him.

As a pastor seeks to practice Christian wellness, he may find it helpful to blend various wellness practices together into one activity.  For example, going for a walk on a nature trail with the family involves practicing both social wellness with the family and physical wellness.  It may also involve an aspect of spiritual wellness, for such activities can also be times of prayer to God .  In another example, if a pastor were to coach his daughter’s soccer team, he would be blending family time, physical exercise and community involvement altogether.[34]

Spiritual Wellness

Since Jesus Christ is the source and centre of all of our wellness, it is helpful to consider spiritual wellness first.[35] Within the Wellness measurement portion of the NPWS (Part B), some questions were intended to measure the existing level of well-being in each dimension of wellness, while other questions focused on the extent to which wellness was being actively pursued.  That is, was the survey respondent incorporating into his life behaviours that would tend to enhance his own level of wellness?

Within the Spiritual Wellness section of the questionnaire, there were four questions that involved practicing wellness, and survey data shows that all four are significantly lacking in the lives of pastors with Very Poor Wellness and significantly present in the lives of pastors with Very Good Wellness.[36] These four questions asked about the frequency with which pastors spend fifteen to twenty minutes per day in personal quiet time; incorporate spiritual practices into their everyday lives; are involved in serving others outside their role as a pastor, husband or father; and have another LCC pastor who is readily accessible and is their pastor.[37] Two of these four questions also indicated significant correlation with many other areas of wellness.

Pastors who indicated that they incorporate spiritual practices (such as prayer at various times and in various place, meditating on Bible verses, or singing or humming hymns or spiritual songs) into their everyday lives about 50% of the time or less, have significantly lower levels of physical, emotional, social, vocational, intellectual, spiritual and overall wellness. This group of pastors also showed significantly higher levels of burnout.  On the other hand, pastors who indicate that they make such practices a part of their everyday lives at least 75% of the time or more enjoy significantly higher levels of overall wellness, as well as vocational and spiritual wellness, along with lower levels of burnout.[38]

Also, pastors who indicated that they are involved about 25% of the time or less in serving others outside of their role as pastor, father and husband have lower levels of emotional, social, vocational, intellectual, spiritual and overall wellness, and higher levels of burnout.  This group is also younger, has less pastoral experience and spends less time, on average, in each of their calls.  Pastors who are involved about 50% of the time or more with serving others outside of their usual roles have more pastoral experience and higher levels of social, vocational, intellectual, spiritual and overall wellness, and enjoy lower levels of burnout.[39]

Survey results indicate that spending fifteen to twenty minutes per day in quiet time correlates not only with spiritual and overall wellness, but also with physical wellness.  Pastors who do this 50% of the time or less have lower wellness in each of the aforementioned areas, along with lower social wellness, while those who take some personal quiet time 75% of the time or more have higher physical, spiritual and overall wellness.[40]

Pastors who sometimes, usually or almost always have a readily-accessible LCC pastor as their own personal pastor have higher levels of spiritual and overall wellness, while those who seldom or never have such a relationship have lower spiritual, financial and overall wellness.  This latter group also tends to be in larger communities while the former tend to be in smaller ones.[41]

Other ideas for improving spiritual wellness include spiritual retreats and sabbaticals.  Spiritual retreats can be designed to incorporate the steps of the restorative process of 1 Kings 19: exiting one’s stressful everyday world, rest, nourishment, relationship with others who offer empathic love, dialogue, listening, truth, forgiveness, and re-entry into the world with the truth.  Conducted with groups of pastors, such retreats can also serve to strengthen peer support.  Sabbaticals can be a time of learning, refreshment and renewal for pastors, and a time of developmental growth for congregations as they learn, in the pastors’ absence, to carry a larger portion of the work of the church.[42]

Physical Wellness

For pastors with Very Poor Wellness, no significant relationship seems to exist between their wellness scores and their Body Mass Index, their alcohol consumption, or the amount of sleep that they had each night.  However, a significant relationship does exist between their wellness scores and exercise, and between their wellness and diet.[43] Therefore, if a pastor wishes to improve his physical wellness, going for regular exercise and eating healthy foods would be a good place to start.

Emotional Wellness

Emotional Wellness is very important, but it is not an area where one can “pull himself up by his boot straps.”  If a pastor is experiencing very poor wellness in this dimension, it is important for him to seek out help and support, and to find a safe context in which to deal with emotional issues.  Pastoral counselling from a Christian counsellor is often helpful to people as they begin to work through their own emotional issues.

If he is experiencing a good level of emotional wellness, then things like hobbies, intellectual challenges and other outside interests can be helpful in maintaining emotional wellness.[44]

Social Wellness

For this dimension of wellness, getting involved in the community and setting aside time to maintain close relationships have a significant relationship with wellness.  Community involvement may mean joining a service club or a sports team, while setting aside time for personal relationships can mean having a weekly date night with his wife, or a family night for the whole family.  Trying to change personal behaviours that cause problems in social situations also relates strongly to improved wellness.[45]

Vocational Wellness

There is a strong relationship between levels of wellness and responses to each of the questions in the Vocational Wellness section of the NPWS.  However, a good place to start improving wellness is to reflect on ways that one could implement and maintain a healthy balance between one’s work and the personal aspects of life.[46]

Some young pastors have indicated that rigidly adhering to a schedule that incorporates a balance of time between work and personal time has been helpful to them.  This means scheduling certain blocks of time for work and only working during those times (except when emergencies arise) and scheduling other blocks of time for family and faithfully being with one’s family during those times.[47] One pastor also suggested scheduling only about half of one’s work time in advance, because the rest will get filled up with unplanned opportunities for ministry.  By doing this, he has been able to get his planned work done and still be available for impromptu ministry moments.[48]

Intellectual Wellness

In this section of the survey, results showed that reading non-theological books, talking with others about non-theological concepts, and watching educational programs on TV do not have a significant relationship with wellness levels.  However, keeping informed about world events, being willing to learn, participating in learning events outside the church, and taking in cultural events are all related significantly to wellness.[49] Therefore, continuing education, following the news and going to plays, concerts or museums can all be an important part of a wellness program.[50]

Financial Wellness

Research has revealed a link between financial wellness and overall wellness.  Pastors with the lowest levels of financial wellness have lower levels of overall wellness and higher levels of burnout, while those with the highest levels of financial wellness have higher levels of overall wellness and lower levels of burnout.

Research has also shown a link between annual salaries and wellness: pastors who receive the lowest salaries have lower levels of wellness and higher levels of burnout.  Conversely, pastors who received the highest salaries have lower levels of burnout.  However, pastors who receive the highest salaries do not have levels of wellness that are significantly higher than pastors in general.[51]

However, a significant relationship does not exist between financial wellness and annual salaries.  The annual salaries of pastors with very poor financial wellness are not significantly different than pastors in general.  In fact, the average annual salary of the quartile of pastors with the lowest financial wellness is $247 higher than the average for all pastors ($36,574 vs. $36,327).  And the average annual salary of the quartile of pastors with the highest financial wellness is only moderately higher than the average ($38,177 vs. $36,327).[52] Low annual salaries may affect wellness because they make pastors and their families more vulnerable to financial stresses.[53] But financial wellness, while being closely related to overall wellness, is not directly related to annual salary.[54]

This is because financial wellness is not a simple measurement of the money coming into the pastor’s household.  It is a measurement of how he manages the money that he is receiving.  And that quality of management is closely related to wellness in each of the other dimensions as well as to overall wellness.  Pastors with very poor financial wellness also have lower physical, emotional and vocational wellness.  Pastors with very good financial wellness have higher levels of wellness in all of the six other dimensions of wellness.[55] Therefore, practicing financial wellness is just as important as practicing wellness in the other dimensions.

A good place to start is to develop a budget plan to manage household expenses, pay down debt, and begin a regular savings program.  In this age of credit and debit cards, there is something to be said for the psychological benefit of using cash.  When one uses cash, he experiences directly the laws of actions and consequences.  When one spends some money, he automatically realizes that he has less money left.  Using “plastic” distances one from both the pain of spending and the pleasure of saving, with the result that a sense of reward is experienced instead in the buying of more and more things, and poor financial management is fostered.

One suggestion to increase the psychological benefits of using cash is the envelope system.  At the beginning of each month, a member of the family withdraws from the bank the budgeted amounts for various areas of spending, including household and personal spending money.  These amounts are put in labelled envelopes, and the cash within each is used for its indicated purpose.  Using this system, people experience a loss as money is spent and a reward when they practice restraint.

Conclusion

Through a pastoral relationship, in which one receives empathic love, in which the truth is spoken and heard, and in which forgiveness is affirmed and apprehended, there is the great potential for a restoration to wellness.  These are the same key components that God has used to save us and keep us in our salvation, and they are valuable to us for restoration and maintenance of the shalom wellness that our Saviour has given us.  Having been restored to wellness, we live in wellness by taking charge of the things for which we are responsible and by letting go of the many things for which we are not.  In the freedom that has been given to us by Jesus Christ, we can consider various ideas for wellness and implement those that may help us to maintain balance and wholeness in our lives.


[1] Gary L. Harbaugh, Pastor as Person: Maintaining Personal Integrity in the Choices and Challenges of Ministry (Minneapolis:  Augsbury, 1984), 56 (emphasis in original).

[2] Pastor C, 11.

[3] Pastor C, 11.

[4] The Small Catechism, II.2 in The Book of Concord, Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 354.

[5] C. F. W. Walther, Church and Ministry, translated by J. T. Mueller (St. Louis:  Concordia, 1987), 22.  Thesis IV:  “The ministry is not a special or, in opposition to that of ordinary Christians, a more holy state, as was the Levitical priesthood, but it is a ministry of service.”  Thesis VI, A:  “The ministry of the Word [Predigtamt] is conferred by God through the congregation as the possessor of all ecclesiastical power, or the power of the keys, by means of its call, which God Himself has prescribed.”

[6] Otto Bauernfeind, “avnapau,w,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976) vol. 1, 350, in Unabridged Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [CD-ROM] (Oak Harbor, WA:  Logos, 2000).

[7] Bauernfeind, “avna,pausij,” TDNT, vol. 1, 350 [CD-ROM].

[8] R. C. H. Lenske, Commentary on the New Testament:  The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2001), 458.

[9]Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 35, Word and Sacrament I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, in Luther’s Works (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999, c1960) [CD-ROM].

[10] Augsburg Confession, IV.1-3 in The Book of Concord, Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 38-41.

[11] C. F. W. Walther, Church and Ministry:  Witnesses of the Evangelical Lutheran Church on the Question of the Church and the Ministry, translated by J. T. Mueller (St. Louis:  Concordia, 1987), 198.  “Concerning the Holy Ministry – Thesis IV” states, “The ministry is not a special or, in opposition to that of ordinary Christians, a more holy state, as was the Levitical priesthood, but it is a ministry of service.”  Cf. Apology, XXII.9 in The Book of Concord, Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, ed. (Minneapolis:  Fortress, 2000), 246; Apology, XXIV.80 in The Book of Concord, 272.

[12] Pastor A, 20.

[13] Pastor C, 3.

[14] 1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”  2 Corinthians 13:4, “For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.”

[15] Richard C. Eyer, Pastoral Care Under the Cross:  God in the Midst of Suffering (St. Louis:  Concordia, 1994), 33.  Cf. 24-33.  Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer (New York:  Doubleday, 1972), 96.

[16] Harbaugh, 60.

[17] Pastor E, 2; Pastor I, 9.

[18] Cf. Matthew 22:34-40; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Leviticus 19:18; Luther’s Small Catechism:  With Explanation (St. Louis:  Concordia, 1991), 54.

[19] The Small Catechism, II.6 in TheBook of Concord, Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, ed. (Minneapolis:  Fortress, 2000), 355-6.

[20] Pieper, vol. 3, 242.

[21] “αγαπάω, αγάπη, αγαπητός,” Ethelbert Stauffer, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vols. 5-9, edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin., ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-c1976) [CD-ROM]; vol. 1, 37.

[22] Not all scholars are agreed that ‘aga,ph should be considered the highest form of love.  Cf.  D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England/Grand Rapids, MI:  Inter-Varsity Press/Eerdmans: 1991), 676.  Carson argues that, in a comparison of ‘aga,ph and file,w, such a distinction between these two forms of love cannot be maintained on the basis of their usage in the LXX or in the Gospel of John.  Furthermore, he indicates that ‘aga,ph began to become the more popular term for love in about the fourth century B.C. as file,w began to take on the meaning of “kiss.”  Cf. also Moisés Silva, Biblical Words and Their Meaning:  An Introduction to Lexical Semantics, revised and expanded edition (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1994), 96.

[23] Michael St. Clair, Object Relations and Self-psychology:  An Introduction (Belmont, CA:  Wadsworth, 2000), 152.

[24] Robert L. Randall,  Pastor and Parish:  The Psychological Core of Ecclesiastical Conflicts (New York:  Human Sciences Press, 1988), 139.

[25] Randall, 139-141.

[26] Randall, 141 (emphasis in original).

[27] “o”mologe,w,” Frederick W. Danker, , A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, third edition, revised and edited by Frederick William Danker (Chicago:  University of Chicago, 2000), 708.  “To share a common view or be of common mind about a matter, agree; . . . to concede that something is factual or true, grant, admit, confess.”

[28] Howard Clinebell, Basic Types of Pastoral Care & Counselling:  Resources for the Ministry of Healing & Growth, revised and enlarged edition (Nashville:  Abingdon, 1984), 74.

[29] Cf. Pastor J [pseud.], interview by author, transcript of tape recording, 5 February 2003, 15-16, regarding God’s great expression of grace in using weak and inadequate servants to be his voice in the world.

[30] Harbaugh, 59.

[31] Harbaugh, 59-61.  Cf. Pastor A, 12-13, about the importance of recognizing that the pastor has personal responsibility for his own wellness.

[32] Harbaugh, 60.

[33] Pastor C, 9. For more information about boundaries, cf. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1992).

[34] Pastor A, 2, 21.

[35] Pastor J, 16.  “Survey Data 2.0.”  Results from the NPWS produced the following correlations between the scores for each of the various dimensions and the modified Wellness-Financial scores:                                                                                                                                                      Dimension                   Correlation to mWF score                                                                   Vocational                               0.746                                                                                       Social                                      0.713                                                                           Emotional                                0.706                                                                                       Spiritual                                   0.700                                                                           Financial                                 0.662                                                                           Intellectual                              0.637                                                                           Physical                                   0.507

[36] “Survey Data 5.04.”

[37] Questions 59 (“I spend 15 to 20 minutes in quiet time”), 60 (“I incorporate spiritual practice(s) into my everyday life of work, family and relationships”), 61 (“I am involved in serving others outside of my role as a pastor, husband or father”), and 62 (“I have another LCC pastor as my pastor and he is readily accessible to me”) of the NPWS.  See appendix A for a copy of the survey.

[38] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 9.2” [Excel data file], April 2003. Pastors who incorporate spiritual practices into their everyday lives 50% of the time or less do not have levels of financial wellness that are significantly lower than pastors in general.  Pastors who incorporate spiritual practices into their everyday lives 75% of the time or more do not have levels of physical, emotional, social, intellectual, or financial wellness that are significantly higher than pastors in general.

[39] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 9.3” [Excel data file], April 2003.

[40] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 9.1” [Excel data file], April 2003.

[41] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 9.4” [Excel data file], April 2003.

[42] Pastor J, 9-10; Pastor D, 15; Pastor I, 10; Oswald, 112, 125-7.

[43] “Survey data 2.0.”  The Body Mass Index question was retained in the Pastoral Wellness Self-test because of health risks associated with excess body fat (Payne and Hahn, 165).  Regarding alcohol consumption, the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism defines moderate drinking, the upper limit of alcohol that can be consumed without causing problems for oneself or for society, as two drinks per day for a man and one drink per day for a woman (Payne and Hahn, 248).  The question on alcohol consumption was retained because of the potential health risks from excessive alcohol consumption.  The question regarding sleep was retained in the Pastoral Wellness Self-test because getting sufficient sleep is important to health (Payne and Hahn, 109).

[44] Pastor B, 7; Pastor E, 2; Pastor F [pseudo.], interview by author, transcript of tape recording, 21 January 2003, 3.

[45] “Survey data 5.04.”  Results from questions 36 (“I make a conscious effort to change those behaviours that cause problems in my interactions with others”), 38 (“I get involved in community events”) and 39 (“I set aside time each week to maintain my close relationships”) of the NPWS indicate that pastors with Very Poor Wellness score significantly lower in each of these areas, while pastors with Very Good Wellness score significantly higher in each of these areas than do pastors in general.  Cf. Pastor B, 11-13, about the importance of community involvement.

[46] “Survey data 5.04.”  The questions showing the highest degree of significance in the Vocational Wellness section of the survey, both for pastors with Very Poor Wellness and those with Very Good Wellness, were questions 45 (“I am able to maintain a healthy balance between work and the other aspects of my life such as play and family”) and 48 (“My work has a positive impact upon the other aspects of my life and well-being”).  Pastors with Very Poor Wellness scored lower on these questions, while those with Very Good Wellness scored higher.

[47] Pastor A, 5; Pastor H, 1, 6-8.

[48] Pastor A, 5, 10.

[49] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 10.0” [Excel data file], April 2003. Among pastors with Very Good or Very Poor Wellness, the average responses to questions 49 (“How many non-theological books have you read in the past year?”), 50 (“I feel comfortable talking with other people about non-theological intellectual ideas and concepts”) and 51 (“I watch non-theological educational programs on TV”) were not significantly different from pastors in general.  With question 49, because responses indicate a relationship with wellness (pastors with Very Poor Wellness showed below average scores on this question and pastors with Very Good Wellness showed above average scores on this question), this question was retained in Pastoral Wellness Self-test tool, even though the relationship is not strong enough to meet a level of significance of five percent.  Questions 50 and 51 were dropped from the Pastoral Wellness Self-test tool because the relationship between responses to these questions and wellness was weak and because pastors with Very Poor Wellness averaged higher scores than pastors in general on these questions (see appendix B).

[50] Pastor F, 2-3, 10.

[51] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 3.25” [Excel data file], April 2003.

[52] James R. Paulgaard, “Survey data 9.5” [Excel data file], April 2003.

[53] Pastor G, 9.

[54] “Survey data 9.5.”

[55] “Survey data 9.5.”

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