People often assume that being a pastor or faith leader is a piece of cake. You only work one day a week, give a few good speeches, and pull all your source material from one big book. The reality is; unfortunately, pastors and faith leaders carry an invisible responsibility on their shoulders.
Nobody has to tell an up-and-coming pastor that their job highlights the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but beneath the surface lies a more intricate design. Pastors are also responsible for building a community, delivering truthful messaging, and for their congregation’s entire well-being (spiritual and otherwise). Pastors were already overwhelmed, to put it lightly.
Then, the Covid-19 Pandemic hit and gave us all a new reality. Suddenly, pastors and faith leaders had to navigate a new world of how to get their message across to an even more stressed flock. The congregation would, in turn, continue to use their pastor to balance their well-being, adding more to the ever-growing list of duties a pastor is already charged with.
Pastors are at the frontlines of mental, spiritual, and emotional battles, not just for their congregations but themselves too. With that being said, why would pastors think twice about getting some help of their own? Undoubtedly, the helpers need help as well. Here are a few possible reasons.
- One reason pastors refuse help is the uncomfortable concept of role reversal. Pastors are used to being the counselor, not being counseled. For many pastors, being on the other side of the desk in a counselor’s office can be uncomfortable because it requires them to give up a measure of situational control and the ability to open up and be vulnerable.
- are usually the ones giving answers, not asking for them. Pastors often believe they’re experts and can independently handle the rollercoaster of emotional conflict. Unfortunately, this often leads to a further fall into darker things. Pastors may fall into sin more often than before, leading to their families and community suffering. When a pastor seeks professional counseling, they’re doing the best thing they can to keep themselves healthy and their family and community.
- Confidentiality is a concern many have regarding counseling, particularly those in small towns. Pastors aren’t usually concerned with the counselor leaking information and secrets but are more concerned about running into a church member out in the wild. One could contribute this mindset to the expectations of pastors to be a sort of “super shepherd” for their flock. The image made for them is one of a person grounded so firmly in faith that the world’s troubles could never bring them to outside counseling! This toxic imagery cultivated for pastors over many decades leads to an unreasonable sense of responsibility and spiritual/emotional baggage.
- What about a pastor’s opinion on psychology in general? Some pastors and faith leaders see mental health counseling as a secular alternative to the Word of God and will outright condemn it, even Christian counseling like NuWell!
- Many pastors have over-spiritualized mental health. “People don’t need counseling; they need discipleship.” This sentiment has caused many pastors and congregants to question the spiritual morality of counseling and themselves. Pastors may begin to doubt themselves further and lose the battles of spiritual warfare by thinking they are weak in faith if they seek counseling. Sometimes a pastor’s worst enemy could be themselves.
- Some pastors living in densely populated regions may find it challenging to discover the right counselor, not just a counselor. With all the options laid before you, like a buffet, Christian counseling organizations like NuWell can help you find the right faith-based counselor for your unique situation.
- On the other hand, rural pastors may find it difficult even to see a counselor at all. Lengthy drives to the nearest office of a qualified counselor can be a deterrent for many. Thankfully, many counseling services like NuWell are available online, allowing pastors to receive spiritual and mental care from the comfort and privacy of their homes.
- Lastly, counseling isn’t always affordable. Many small-town pastors operate on limited budgets and finding a qualified counselor within that budget can be challenging. Thankfully, NuWell is happy to assist with financial aid opportunities and can work with pastors to ensure their care is within their budget. Check with your insurance provider too!
For many pastors, seeking professional counseling can be scary and uncertain. With NuWell Christian Counseling, pastors can find comfort in faith-based counseling that is faithful and true.