Recently I was sent an article, Helping Ministers, by Dr Tony Robinson of Vitality Psychology & Consulting Services Pty Ltd (Strathfield, NSW). Dr Robinson co-wrote this article with Andrew Peden, Brendan Geary and Geraldine Taylor Robinson.
In this article the authors,
describe the main psychological issues that ministers encounter and how ministers can seek help if they find themselves faced with a psychological challenge. “When we are psychologically healthy, our ways of acting, thinking and feeling are adaptive (successful) in nature.”
Being aware of potential challenges can help us recognise the “warning flags” in our own life; and in turn we are able to support fellow ministers who need help.
I believe the potential challenges for us as ministers is when parishes (and sadly also ourselves) forget that we are human. But we are just like ‘the bloke next door’: we get tired, we face depression, we get sick, we need time out, we make mistakes, we get angry, we are no different to the average person; and we are trying to live life in a fulfilling and happy way. We can be a good spiritual example of how to live a life faithful to Christ, but we are not perfect. Why? – because we are not God!
How can we help ministers?
- by realising that they (like us) are human,
- by realising that they (like us) make mistakes (To err is human),
- by being there to support them when they trip up, and
- by ensuring that they take time out to be alone and re-charge their batteries. I recall that Jesus Christ did that often. We need to follow His example – bishops included! 🙂
If you would like a copy of this article, please email Dr Tony Robinson of Vitality Psychology & Consulting Services – firstname.lastname@example.org
See also Ministry Burnout Syndrome.