Part of the blame for this is being put on the pressure to be successful, such as increasing congregation size, dealing with, and increasing, church finances, and general administration. Studies have also found that clergy don't — or feel they can't — take vacations because of the pressures and duties that come with their role. Rich Teeters, a veteran pastor and speaker who currently serves at Renaissance Church, a non-denominational congregation in Summit, N.J., said, “People's deaths and serious illnesses and troubles and marital problems — they don't take vacations.” Teeters has cancelled, or cut short, his own vacations to conduct funerals or help congregants in distress.
Do you find the demands of your roles stressful? If so, how do you cope?
Top 10 reasons for clergy stress:
1. Being a religious leader in a post-religious era: It’s demoralizing.
2. Being held personally accountable for the decline in church attendance (not the end of the Baby Boom, or the post-religious trend, but our lack of charisma).
3. Dwindling resources of money and constant stress about fundraising.
4. Loneliness and pressure from inadequate staffing.
5. Having your source of spiritual renewal become your job. Part one: You either have no source of renewal, or you find one that isn’t church.
6. Part two: The hypocrisy of teaching others a source of renewal which no longer renews you.
7. Lack of theological urgency: Without heaven and hell hanging over us, without false superiority over other religions, what is our “exclusive” claim? (Imagine doing a job you can’t write boastful ad copy for.)
8. Emotional labor: Being compassionate, deep and inspiring on demand.
9. (For some like me) Being an introvert in an extrovert’s job.
10. You can’t be friends with church people (boundaries); you don’t have energy for friends outside of church; and some day you’ll leave this church and cut all personal ties.
Top 10 reasons for clergy health:
1. We know ourselves, we’ve done our therapy, we’re not afraid of depth or pain or honesty.
2. Our work matters.