Church Worker Wellness
The Kansas District takes the health and wellness of church workers seriously. We’ve seen the physical, emotional, relational, financial, intellectual, vocational and spiritual fatigue that can overwhelm church workers and their families. We’d like to help. To that end, we’ve begun identifying specific needs of our church workers and families and are developing strategies and resources for maintaining health and wellness. Our church workers and families matter to us!
For more on the care for church workers, including an explanation of the Wholeness Wheel, visit the Concordia Plan Services page on the topic.
Results from the 2016 Church Worker Core Needs Survey
In 2016, the Kansas District conducted a series of regional events for active church workers and their spouses in local parishes. A survey was conducted at each event; 300 of the 400 ordained and commissioned workers in Kansas participated.
The survey data highlighted three primary areas in need of attention:
- Worker Care – there is a need to implement strategies to strengthen congregational care for Church workers and their households;
- Financial resources – there is a need to bolster congregational resources to address personal Church worker household finances; and,
- Spiritual health – there is a need to offer strategies to local congregations in their ongoing support of the spiritual wellbeing of their church workers and households.
The Church Worker Care Team of the District will work to address knowledge, attitude, and skill components for these priorities, taking into account the many ways in which church workers differ.
“It Is Well with My Soul…or Is It?”
by James Bradshaw
Do full-time church workers take time to rest, renew, and be restored? So many Lutheran pastors and educators become workaholics. I am one of them! This is easily done because there is so much to do and so many demands on our time. As a result of experiencing high levels of stress in my life, I set out to explore congregational best practices that foster healthier spiritual wellness for church workers and their families.
Here is a summary of what I discovered along the way of my sabbatical, through interviews with key church leaders and various readings:
- Take care of your soul! Daily remember your baptism – remember who you are and WHOSE you are!
- Establish a congregational sabbatical policy and employ this practice for all church workers of your congregation/school. This sabbatical has afforded me the opportunity to rest, renew, and rediscover the depth of God’s grace in my life.
- The journey of spiritual wellness is in Christ. Attend a Grace Place Retreat and be spiritually renewed! (They are available for single workers of the church as well as for married workers and their spouse).
- Create a “Rule of Life” for yourself, other staff members (if applicable), and leaders in your church/school. By cultivating an intentional life with Christ, you embrace intentionally focused time for silence, prayer, meditation on Scripture, and reading.
- Ask your congregational/school leaders to identify a Worker Support Team (WST) for each of your workers. These care teams/individuals can offer regular prayer support and provide ongoing encouragement for each worker.
- Finally, follow the basics from the National Institutes of Health, as they pertain to physical renewal (diet AND exercise).
What will Lutheran pastors, educators, congregations, and schools do to make this a reality? Will you say that this is too much of a dream; it will never happen? Or will you accept the challenge to change what is happening now and present a plan to your congregation/school? Having completed this sabbatical experience, I can boldly proclaim today: “It IS well with my soul!”
Download complete Sabbatical Report