CHRISTIAN WELLNESS FOR LUTHERAN CHURCH-CANADA PASTORS
A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Divinity
By James Robert Paulgaard
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Date: May 9, 2003
Concern over the high incidence of burnout among Lutheran pastors has led to a consideration of wellness as a potential approach for improving pastoral health and well-being. This thesis evaluates the merits of such a wellness approach toward improving the well-being and health of pastors. Chapter one investigates the nature of wellness as defined by the wellness movement and studies the nature and value of Christian wellness. Chapter two examines the various factors that work together to draw pastors away from Christian wellness. Among these factors are the pastor’s personality, the stress-filled nature of ministry, inexperience, financial stress, living in a parsonage and unresolved psychological issues. Chapter three explores processes for restoring, maintaining and living Christian wellness. This thesis finds that there is a very significant link between burnout and wellness and suggests that a Christian wellness approach offers great potential for improving the health and well-being of the pastors of Lutheran Church-Canada.
NASB New American Standard Bible (1995)
NKJ New King James
All scriptural quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise specified.
CHAPTER ONE: What is a Christian Understanding of Wellness and Why is Christian Wellness Important?
- Introduction: Why Wellness?
- Burnout Results and Defining Burnout
- The Link Between Wellness and Burnout
- What is Wellness?
- A Secular Definition
- A Christian Definition
- Different Motivation and Goals
- Scriptural Understandings of Humanity and Wellness
- A Christian Definition of Wellness
CHAPTER TWO: What is Contributing to a Lack of Wellness Among LCC Pastors?
- The Pastoral Personality
- The Nature of Ministry
- The Interaction of the Pastoral Personality with the Stressful Nature of Ministry
- Pastors at Risk
- Inexperienced Pastors
- Stress in the Transition From Seminary to the Parish and in the First Few Years of Ministry
- Financial Stress
- The Struggle to Maintain a Balance between Work and Family
- Pastors With Unresolved Psychological Issues
- Pastors Struggling Under the Law
- A Biblical Example of a Lack of Wellness: Elijah in 1 Kings 19
CHAPTER THREE: Restoring and Living in Christian Wellness
- Dealing with Denial
- The Gospel for Pastors
- A Scriptural Process for Restoring and Maintaining Wellness: 1 Kings 19
- Keys for Christian Wellness
- Empathic Love
- The On-going Need for Relationship, Empathic Love, Truth and Forgiveness
- Jesus as Our Model for Wellness
- Living in Wellness
- Ideas for Practicing Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
- Physical Wellness
- Emotional Wellness
- Social Wellness
- Vocational Wellness
- Intellectual Wellness
- Financial Wellness
APPENDIX A – SURVEY DOCUMENTS
APPENDIX B – SURVEY RESULTS
APPENDIX C – RESULTS OF HYPOTHESIS TESTING
APPENDIX D – PASTORAL WELLNESS SELF-TEST