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  • Writer's pictureKeith Haney

Caring for Our Valuable Assets


A vintage classic car

 

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages." 19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:17-19 ESV)


Imagine if someone left you with the beauty of a classic car. How would treat it? What would do to take care of it? Well the church has been blessed with a valuable gift as well. Those men and women called by the Church to share the sweet message of the Gospel with its members. How are you treating these valuable assets?

One of the joys of my current call is to help congregations improve church worker wellness. Church worker health is a multifaceted concept encompassing individuals' spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial well-being in church-related roles. Church workers need access to resources and support systems that address these various aspects of wellness.

We are blessed to be a part of a church body that also supports this concept. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) prioritizes the wellness of its pastors and professional church workers. They have conducted comprehensive research to understand the needs of church workers and their spouses, identifying nine common themes related to their well-being. These themes include identity in Christ, supportive culture, healthy ministries, finances, relationships, caregiving, recognition, awareness, and local care provision. 

The Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) also offers resources specifically designed for church workers, providing financial solutions, wellness support, housing assistance, and a community for sharing experiences and support.

It's also recognized that mental wellness is crucial for church workers, as it impacts their quality of life and their ability to serve effectively in their congregations and schools3. Strategies to support church workers include fostering supportive relationships, encouraging mental health care, and developing comprehensive wellness plans.




 

The health and wellness of church workers are vital for the sustainability of vibrant and healthy churches, schools, and ministries.

Church workers face various challenges that can impact their ability to serve their congregations effectively. Some of the specific challenges they encounter include:

Greater Polarization and Divisions: Church workers often must navigate divisions within their congregations over issues such as politics, worship styles, streaming services, community engagement, and leadership styles.

Weariness: Many church workers experience exhaustion from dealing with numerous issues, making them feel ornery and critical.

Decision Fatigue: The pandemic forced church leaders to make unprecedented decisions, leading to decision fatigue.

Hopelessness: The ongoing nature of crises, like operating in a post-Christian culture, can lead to a pervasive sense of hopelessness among church workers.

Confusion About the Path Forward: Church leaders may struggle to find a stable path forward for their congregations with constant changes and no clear end in sight.

Denominational Structures Destabilizing: Churches may find that their denomination does not provide the resources and help they used to due to cuts in funding and restructuring at the national level.

Major Personnel Shifts: The pandemic has led to significant shifts in church staffing, with many churches reducing personnel costs.

Inadequate Finance: Church workers often face inadequate finances and resources, which can lead to severe financial struggles and limitations in ministry activities.

Temptations in Duties: Church leaders may encounter various temptations in their duties, which can challenge their integrity and effectiveness.

Staff Issues: Inheriting staff from previous leadership can create mismatches and challenges in managing the team.

Leading and Keeping Volunteers: Managing volunteers effectively is a significant challenge that requires time and effort.

These challenges highlight the need for support systems and resources to help church workers navigate these difficulties while maintaining their well-being and effectiveness in ministry. Churches must understand the challenges and provide support to their church workers.

It is a rewarding vocation, but it also has challenges and blessings.

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