There has been a lot of discussion on the Internet and social media recently about the strain pastors are under, following the death by suicide of American church leader, Rev Teddy Parker Jnr.
The pastor, who led Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia, had sent his wife and two children ahead of him to the church’s Sunday service, but when he took a long time to arrive, they went to search for him and found him dead at home.
Following his death, it was revealed that Rev Parker Jr suffered from manic depression; that he was taking medication for the condition, which causes additional ‘physical challenges’, and that whilst he had support structures around him, he didn’t feel able to take a sabbatical.
Rev Parker Jr’s funeral was streamed online, and his wife received messages of condolence from all over the world, including one from Pastor Rick Warren, whose son died from suicide.
Growing numbers of church leaders here in Britain are recognising the importance of providing ministerial support. Bishop Mark Nicholson runs MAN Ministries. It gives practical information about running a church, and supports ministers experiencing difficulties via regular breakfast meetings and one-to-one counsel.
He isn’t surprised that ministers can sometimes find ministerial work overwhelming. “Although someone’s a pastor, who’s pastoring him? Who does he align himself with, to say that if he is feeling pain, he feels he can walk into another pastor’s office, and share to get wise and godly counsel? Once that is missing, the minister stands alone.”
Bishop Nicholson suggests ministers can avoid feeling overwhelmed by their work if they are transparent, honest and accountable to someone.
For more details about MAN Ministries, visit www.manministries.co.uk, or phone 07534 263421.