Jul
09

Autopsy of a Burned-Out Pastor: 13 Lessons

Flickr/Scallop Holden

Another short gem from Thom Rainer, this one based on his "autopsies" of pastors whose ministries - and persons - were rendered "mission incapable" by their inability to cope with the cumulative pressures of parish life.  Please note that only two of the factors: serving dysfunctional parishes and being poorly remunerated (and possibly #9, failure to take a sabbatical) are under the direct control OF THE PASTOR.  This is not to say that Read more…

Jul
01

The One-Term Curse (and how to avoid it)

A lame duck president finds it hard to lead - mores the pastor!  Image from http://accentoninterpreting.blogspot.com

In this essay, Thom Rainer describes a parish phenomenon that is all too common among pastors: the three year tenure.  I grew up in a tradition - Methodism - that had institutionalized a four year rotational schedule for its ministers.  While short tenures have some benefits, they do not allow for the development of the kind of relationships and trust that should exist between Orthodox priests and the people they serve.  One of my Read more…

Mar
30

Priests, you don’t have to like your parish either

Slide1

In my post, “You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest”, I built on Brother Patrick’s essay to describe some of the reasons that people don’t like their Orthodox priests, making the general point that all of his foibles pale in comparison to the One Thing Needful which He serves and shares. Another dynamic of this relationship is the attitude of the priest towards the people he serves. Sometimes priests have a hard time liking them, Read more…

Mar
19

You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest

Chapter Seven of Fr. David's book has a chapter on how to relate to your priest: he uses the models of Lawyer, Doctor, Teacher, Artist, and Manager to help.

A reader recommended Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe's article "You Don't have to Like Your priest" (published on March 7, 2014 at Dominicana)   It is an excellent article and I recommend it, too.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  The following is patterned on Brother Patrick's essay.  Why do I like it?  I know that my parishioners struggle with this; not only have they benefitted from the service of saintly priests, their own Read more…

Feb
19

Some Good Advice on (NOT) Taking Offense

Joseph kissing Benjamin (source; wikipedia commons)

If you aren't following Dn. Michael Hyatt (blog, Twitter, podcast, Facebook), then you have a wealth of practical wisdom waiting for you!  In this episode of his podcast, he takes on a critical skill: avoiding taking offense.  Let's face it: clergy have plenty of opportunity to get upset: they hear all kinds of criticism being directed against them, their parish, their bishop, their families, even Orthodoxy itself.   Dn. Michael argues Read more…

Feb
11

Prayer as an Antidote and Cure for Burn-out

Icon scanned from a church bulletin. Bulletin is copyright(C) 1973 by God With Us Publications.  Found at http://maryimmaculate.tripod.com/sorrow1.html

One of the topics that has drawn the most comments to this and other pastoral blogs is that of clergy burn-out.  I have met well-meaning and venerable pastors who claim that burn-out can only happen to those who have not completely given their lives over to Christ.  They believe that kenosis and the Holy Spirit can sustain pastors through even the darkest of valleys.  Certainly kenosis is part of the answer... but it's not enough.  The Read more…

Feb
06

On the Priesthood, Book 3 – On the Power and Temptations of the Priesthood (St. John Chrysostom)

Mosaic of St. John Chrysostom in Hagia Sophia

Treatise on the Priesthood. Saint John Chrysostom (source: www.ccel.org/fathers) Book III.  The Power and Temptations of the Priesthood 1. Chrysostom: As regards the insult to those who have done me honor, what I have already said might be sufficient to prove that in avoiding this office I had no desire to put them to shame; but I will now endeavor to make it evident, to the best of my ability, that I was not puffed up by arrogance Read more…