ChurchStaffing Hiring Articles

  • Share:

Do’s & Don’ts of Emotionally Caring for Your Church Staff

By: Bob Sutton, Vanderbloemen Search Group

Pastors have an incredibly taxing job. It is a high calling and responsibility to live and work in the pastorate, but it comes with high cost. Poor emotional health is common when people are constantly poured out emotionally and physically, isolated socially and/or spiritually, and not poured back into with encouragement and care.

To create an environment where pastors are doing effective ministry, the whole person needs to be cared for. If the whole person IS cared for, it can lead to increased job satisfaction, longevity, and contributes to a more healthy church.

So before we get to what steps you can take to promote mental health and wellness, here are some things NOT to do when your church staff members are struggling emotionally:

Don’t tell them to get over it.

When going through a tough time emotionally, telling someone to "get over it" communicates that you don’t care. Often, depression cannot just be gotten over. Whether it is seasonal (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or clinical depression, helping them to understand healthy next steps can communicate care and help move them through a tough time.

Don’t talk to other people about what they have shared with you confidentially.

This should fall under the “no brainer” category, but it is important to keep confidential what is shared. Your church staff should have a code of confidentiality that is followed by every team member.

Don’t tell them to just pray more or read the Bible more.

A persons’ spiritual health cannot be easily separated from their emotional health, but they are not one and the same. Just because they are going through a rough period emotionally, it does not mean that they are going through a spiritual struggle as well. Responding to someone going through a time of depression with a simple spiritual ‘fix’ is not going to help.

Don’t withdraw from the relationship.

This can be devastating to someone who is going through a rough patch. Even if you don’t have the words, being present and consistent can speak volumes to how much you care for the person's wellbeing.

Now that we’ve identified some actions to avoid, here are some things that you can do to help:

Do offer a safe place where staff can voice concerns and frustrations without fear of backlash.

Do take it seriously.

When a staff member steps forward with a problem, that might be your only chance to do something about it. Listen without judgment, reassure the person of your support for them, and refer them to a trained counselor if necessary.

Do have referrals for mental health professionals, including counselors for therapy and psychiatrists for medications.

Do consider covering part or all of staff counseling sessions as a part of your benefits package.

For those in ministry, cost for counseling can be prohibitive and prevent staff from getting the help they need.

Do consider a sabbatical or a staff silent retreat, usually offered at monasteries.

Programs typically include time alone, prayer, opportunities for reflection, and meditation on scripture.

It is important to promote emotional health on your church staff.

What are some other ways you’ve seen churches help their pastors through depression?

This article was provided by our church executive search partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. To learn more about Vanderbloemen Search Group's recruiting services and how they can help you fill your open position, click here. To read more insightful articles on Vanderbloemen's blog, click here.

More Articles

5 Things to Include in Your Church Staff Onboarding Process
The best way to have your new hire love their environment and their job quickly is make them feel welcome on your church staff. If your new hire walks into their first day on the job and they don’t ...   Read More
Have you ever made a bad decision in leadership? Of course, we all have. It is actually part of the way we grow as leaders. I’ve made many bad decisions in my leadership. Thankfully, the longer ...   Read More
How to Interview for Mission and Vision Alignment
Every church wants a staff full of people who are all aligned with the church’s mission and vision and moving in unity towards the same goals. Having church staff members who don’t match with ...   Read More
Whether you hire workers for your own business, train co-workers within the context of your current position, or equip others for ministry in your church, you should consider the following lessons from ...   Read More
Contextual Intelligence In the book In Their Time, Anthony Mayo and Nitin Nohria profile some of the greatest business leaders of the twentieth century. Those leaders lived in different eras, worked ...   Read More
More Articles

Books & Resources

  • In Search of a Leader

    In Search of a Leader

    An excellent resource for the search committee looking for the right leader. It is well written and easy to use, the next best thing to having your own consultant. >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • MinistryKeys Candidate Assessment (10 reports)

    MinistryKeys Candidate Assessment (10 reports)

    No more stacks of resumes! Pre-screen all applicants to your church or ministry position using our MinistryKeys pre-employment biblical DISC assessment. >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff CD

    The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff CD

    Based on a national survey, The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff provides reliable church employee compensation breakdowns. >> More Information
    Add To Cart
  • The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff

    The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff

    Based on a national survey, The 2010-2011 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff provides reliable church employee compensation breakdowns. >> More Information
    Add To Cart