Clergy suffer from certain health issues at a rate higher than the general population. Why are pastors in such poor health? And what can be done to help them step into the abundant life God desires for them?
Although anecdotal observations about poor clergy health abound, concrete data from multiple sources supporting this claim haven't been made accessible--until now. Duke's Clergy Health Initiative (CHI), a major, decade-long research project, provides a true picture of the clergy health crisis over time and shows that improving the health of pastors is possible. Combining the expertise of a health psychology researcher and a leading pastoral theologian, this book brings together the best in social science and medical research, quantifying the poor health of clergy with theological engagement about what can be done about it. Although the study focused on United Methodist ministers, the authors interpret CHI's groundbreaking data for a broad ecumenical readership, explaining that the findings are applicable to all North American clergy. In addition to physical health, the book treads deep into the territory of mental health and spiritual well being, and suggests that increasing the presence of positive mental health may prevent future physical and mental health problems for clergy. The authors weave concrete suggestions tailored to clergy throughout the book.
Preface: The Birth of the Duke Clergy Health Initiative
1. Creatures Doing the Creator's Work
2. When Work Is Holy: Highs and Lows of Ministry Work
3. Slowed Down and Overwhelmed: Clergy and Depressive Symptoms
4. A Practical Guide to Combating Stress Symptoms
5. The Pastor's Paradox: Clergy Health and Disease
6. Feeling Alive: The Role of Positive Emotions
7. Clergy Flourishing: In Their Own Words
8. The Lord Bless You and Keep You
Appendix: Recommendations for Clergy Health Programs