I was recently asked about my thoughts on the phrases:
“Hurt people, Hurt people” and “Silent people kill churches.”
It took me a bit to ponder these thoughts for myself, as I have so often used these phrases as a therapeutic tool in the sacred space found in my therapy room. I don’t know how these two phrases have, or have not, played a role in your lives but I would like you to consider: Have you ever felt supported by individuals but not believed by an institution? Have you ever felt hurt by the hurt, or silence? Have you ever found yourself the perpetrator of the hurt or the one who is asking another to keep silent?
The reality is, there are many ways that hurt and silence bring us to a place of darkness – regardless of who is initially causing these feelings because in the end, we all ultimately feel the darkness in these situation.
So how then, do we find the light in ministry and beyond?
We listen. We affirm. We remain steadfast to those who we have covenanted with even when it’s dark because friends, we are promised the light.
The Chrysalis Team is here to offer support and guidance in the darkness and back into the light.
Care to you this day,
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At Chrysalis Counseling for Clergy we acknowledge how difficult ministry can be. The demands placed upon pastors and ministry leaders today are complex and varied in ways heretofore not experienced. Not only is the sheer practice of ministry more and more complicated, but the effects of this stressful environment on the overall health of ministry leaders are profound as well. In short, we know that being a pastor takes its toll in physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and sometimes financial ways. Many pastors are able to maintain some semblance of balance in the midst of this stress. But sometimes the bottom drops out. What do we do then?
Over the course of my 30 plus years working the church the bottom has dropped out on me twice. The first time was a maelstrom of burnout, depression, stress, and health issues. When the bottom dropped out that time I had to seek professional help to get my footing back. In this case, my therapist, close friends, and family, were able to help me see that I needed help. I also learned in this situation that often when the bottom drops out our judicatory leaders aren’t prepared to help, or don’t want to help. Instead the people closest to us come to our aid.
The second time the bottom dropped out for me was when I was told that there was no longer any place for me where I was working in ministry. In this case the issues were external—loss of a job—rather than mental and physical health issues. However, the feeling was all too familiar. Suddenly I was in a no-man’s land of vocational and personal identity. Additionally the fear of financial hardship and questions of what would be next were constantly on my mind. In some ways this experience felt like a scene out of Job where everyone had a great idea for what I should do next. However, in spite of the good intentions of those dear friends, when the bottom falls out it is hard to find the footing necessary to make even the simplest of decisions.
I share these stories as an invitation. At Chrysalis Counseling for Clergy we are deeply concerned for pastors whose engagement in ministry takes its toll on the pastor themselves. If you’re struggling with burnout, with depression, with vocational identity issues, or if you are feeling like the bottom is dropping out, reach out to us. Chrysalis Counseling for Clergy is staffed by licensed therapists who understand the demands of ministry—because we are pastors ourselves.
There is hope!
The Chrysalis Counseling for Clergy TeamLearn More