Church workers are called by God to apply the Gospel to the most daunting of human experiences. Because of their called vocation, church workers are at increased risk of sadness, despair, stress, frustration, anger, and disappointment.
Service and Stress
When your job involves directly serving others, there are inherent vocational risks involved—and these risks are larger when your vocation is to connect human experience and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of these risks is even more likely for workers of the church because they walk closely in step with the life experiences of the people they serve. Day by day, these workers deal with the crises of others— unemployment, financial distress, personal illness, and the death of loved ones. Professionals called to help others during stressful circumstances find these circumstances upping the stress ante in their own lives too.
Church workers often have personal relationships with those they serve. Unlike counselors, whose clients come and go, church workers walk closely with those they serve in day-by-day, ongoing relationships, causing the stress of their peers’ problems to pile onto them as well.
Taking time to Refill and Refresh
Anyone who constantly pours out their talents and love to others and must take time to refill their own cups. In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.” This knowledge is important to keep in mind when the stress of life and helping others overwhelms you. Jesus is there to fill us up and make us whole again. If you’re feeling burnt out, weary, and exhausted from pouring into others, take some time to recharge physically and spiritually.
Supporting Church Workers
In Holding Up the Prophet’s Hand, Dr. Bruce Hartung presents the challenges church workers face daily, along with positive and encouraging strategies for how your congregation can support those called to serve your church. Each chapter deals with crucial topics such as job stress, finances, marriage, housing, and other common experiences in the lives of pastors, professional church workers, teachers, and DCEs.
Let’s come alongside our church workers to support them in body and spirit as they nurture the body of Christ.
Download a free chapter from the book for tips on how to live life together as the body of Christ.
This post is adapted from Holding Up The Prophet’s Hand (© 2011 Concordia Publishing House).