Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More from Croucher

As promised, here's another article from Rowland Croucher on the issues of stress and burnout amongst ministers. This one begins with a story about a man who had the ability to preach, but always lost his church job through conflict. In the end he was virtually down and out, his wife just managing to make ends meet.

Rowland goes on to look at what helps a pastor/minister last the distance.

Today it's both easier and harder to be a pastor. Easier, because we have more resources to help us - like the World Wide Web for sermon-material (ever used the search-engine Google as a concordance?), more support-groups to encourage and pray for us, better access to the world's practical theology experts, and a higher standard of living, on average, than pastors have ever enjoyed.

But it's also harder. Many of us can identify with the apostle Paul who said, 'Who is equal to such a task?', about his own call to pastoral ministry. These days the expectations of our people are higher - and more likely to be expressed vigorously. Up-front leaders and speakers compete with dynamic personalities on television. There are more 'religious' people not attending churches (in the West) than ever before in history. Our people are likely to be better-educated - and differently-educated than we are. 'One size fits all' doesn't work any more: people are more mobile, and brand-loyalty doesn't work for Generation X'ers (those born since 1965) - or even Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).

He offers a number of suggestions over several articles (I've only listed the first few here, as the others run comfortably on from the one before.)

1. Jesus as the model for ministry
2. Spiritual formation -keeping on bel
3. Images of Ministry - what is yours?
4. Saint or Pharisee?
5. Keeping the Spiritual Disciplines - this point keeps turning up; is God saying something?!
6. What about the 'Call'?
the rest of the article appears in a second page:
7. Understanding yourself - how much does your family history affect your work?
8. Co-dependency - blaming others for your own faults
9. Mentors and Networks - absolutely essential!


hetyd4580 said...

Interesting blog, but it’s missing an important part of the equation: Generation Jones (between the Boomers and Generation X). Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten lots of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) now specifically use this term. In fact, the Associated Press' annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009. Here's a page with a good overview of recent media interest in GenJones:

It is important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. And most analysts now see generations as getting shorter (usually 10-15 years now), partly because of the acceleration of culture. Many experts now believe it breaks down more or less this way:

DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
Generation Jones: 1954-1965
Generation X: 1966-1978
Generation Y/Millennials: 1979-1993

Mike Crowl said...

Thanks for the information on Generation Jones. I wonder if this isn't just another way of defining a large group of people in a very general way? I had a quick look at the link you gave me. Helpful to see what the thinking is.

Personally I think Croucher may have put it correctly when he said one size fits all doesn't work. My suspicion is that it never really has.

Human nature has a liking for categories. The problem seems to be that real live humans don't necessarily fit very well into them.

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