Monday, August 02, 2010

Clergy Burnout

Here's a New York Times story that I saw posted on Facebook on clergy burnout.

It seems to me there is a disconnect. There are lots of stats out there on divorce rates for clergy, but there should be more focus on clergy FAMILY burn out. The two environments feed each other.

I'm not saying "Gee, everything would be all right if we did the whole Happy Homemaker thing right." It's not a judgment statement. Its a reality. When we are stressed and unhappy, men who care about us want to "fix" it. Often, they can't. And also, when they are stressed at work, it effects us, maybe more so than in many other careers -- because we love them, and at the same time are tied into their work community, intimately. I see that over and over again.

It is also interesting that it points out that lack of volunteers because of women being in the workplace was pointed out. There really isn't enough said about how that has hurt congregations. Most of of the mercy work, outreach, social activities, etc. that were done in times past were done by women who could give some of their time when their children were in school, or when older children could help with younger children (decreasing family size has also hurt congregations)-- or who could also help with the church work. They could devote part of their time to these things, without taking real time away from their families, because their families got so much of it. Now, with both parents working, families are stretched for time for themselves. It was easier on the men who also devotedly served because they also weren't dealing with some of the stressors that this puts on a family. I'm sure having extended family close by also helps in this, and when there is extended family in the same congregation, that also counts as family time. But the work that the congregations managed to accomplish when this was the norm is impressive.

2 comments:

Mrs. Reverend Doctor said...

Right now we are dealing with a "church stalker" yes, a church member who's stalking us, but stays far away enough that the cops can't really do anything more then warn him...they didn't mention this in Seminary! but come to find out it's pretty common.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I've heard that it is. I'm so sorry.