Throughout the calendar year, we have special days for celebrating and honoring important people in our lives—mothers, fathers, grandparents and veterans, for example. In October we focus our gratitude on our pastors, with Clergy Appreciation Month.
We encourage local churches to express thankfulness to their pastors through gifts and celebrations. But I am asking that we consider another aspect of leader appreciation: encouraging a process of assessing and ensuring their mental and physical health.
The number of ministers experiencing burnout, depression, and broken marriages and families is staggering; further, ministers are leaving pastorates at an alarming rate. As pastors pursue the call to shepherd the flock of God, they often neglect their own health, and the health of their families.
One of the three points of focus for the National Church Office is leadership care. Heading this initiative are Chuck Shoemake and Robby Booth; both provide full-time pastoral counseling and resources for Foursquare ministers and their families.
We also have Center for Spiritual Renewal (CSR) East and West, venues where pastors can go for rest and spiritual refreshment. CSR East is at our CrossPointe Conference Center in Christiansburg, Va., facilitated by Chuck; CSR West is at House on the Hill in Los Angeles, facilitated by Robby.
Very soon we will also have availability at the cabin owned by The Rock (Anaheim Foursquare Church, pastored by Jerry Dirmann) at Lake Arrowhead as another option for CSR West.
In order for churches to experience health and fruitfulness, they need healthy, reproducing leaders. Please don’t neglect your own health and that of your family. We need you to stay strong and healthy so you can effectively lead others.