Did you know that, as a group, clergy are two time more likely to be depressed than the average person? Also did you know that, as a group, clergy are seriously overweight? This may not be news to many of us, but this next fact blew me away. Did you know that, when asked, clergy did not think that their being depressed and overweight made any difference to their ministry?!
If fire fighters, physicans, salespersons, teachers, for example, are depressed and overweight, don't you think if would effect their performance? Who wants to depend on a depressed and overweight fire fighter or police person to save them? Who wants to be advised by a depressed and overweight physican? Who wants to trust the care of children to depressed and overweight teachers? Who wants to have a depressed and overweight role model?
Pastors have stressful jobs that demand that they can go the distance and attend to the needs of others. No one can do ministry well if she is depressed and overweight. Even Jesus went away from the crowds. Even Jesus had close friends. Even Jesus was fit.
So what do we do?
First, we insist that our clergy spouses take time away from the church.
Second, we take care of our own depression and weight by taking good care of ourselves and our kids.
Third, we make sure that our spouse lets the congregation or Staff Parish Committee just how much he/she works and what the work entails. Most people still think pastors only work on Sunday.
Fourth, we see to it that if our spouse is depressed, he/she gets help.
Fifth, we give our spouse the personal space to take time to exercise for simply have time for fun.
Sixth, we make sure we cultivate long-lasting friendships.
Seventh, if she/he won't do things differently, we talk to our friends to get more ideas.
And I'm sure you can think of more. And we better start thinking, because our health insurance rates are out the roof as it is.