Support for Pastors

One of Aspen Tree Ministries (ATM) goals is to offer support to pastors, pastor’s spouses, and other Christian leaders through scholarships so that they might receive spiritual direction and/or transformational coaching and mentoring.

The wounds of ministry are taking a toll upon both congregations and pastors. There is a growing cancer in the Body of Christ that is being manifested in the ever-increasing number of clergy who are leaving the pastoral ministry due to burn-out, discouragement, and defeat.  It has been estimated that 1500 pastors leave the ministry in the United States each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention within their congregation.  Others stay within their denominational system, shifting into survival mode, which sets the stage for pastoral ineffectiveness and a maintenance mode of operation.  The passion for ministry is gone, and the mission of the church is compromised.  

 

  Other national data on the state of pastors further paints a picture of brokenness and burnout:[1]

      · 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor

      · 90% say their seminary training did not prepare them for what they face daily

      · Only 10% finish the race and reach the age 65 as a pastor

      · Two-thirds say their congregation has been in conflict in the past 2 years

      · 80% of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession

       

As startling and dismal as these statistics are, the more difficult statistic to document is the spiritual destruction caused to congregations caught in the wake of conflict.  In congregations there are often persons who are not receptive to the leadership of the pastor, and who create a difficult environment in which to engage in fruitful ministry.  In these instances, churches are simply forced into a season of survival as the overall mission of the church is buried underneath the rotting decay of conflict, strife, and brokenness.   

 

Spiritual Direction and Coaching

Restoration and healing is possible for both pastors and congregations.  Spiritual Direction helps position people for insight and receptivity to the processes which God is using to make them more like Christ.  Having a Spiritual Director to walk with them, to listen to their pain and brokenness, to offer encouragement and hope, while redirecting the focus toward the healing and restorative power of Christ, can transform the lives of pastors and renew congregations. 

Using a variety of spiritual exercises, individuals can be assisted in experiencing Christ’s healing presence and unconditional love in places where growth is blocked, emotional wounds hinder, and wholeness is not yet experienced.  Utilizing Scripture, and the faith resources developed throughout the history of the Church, those under Spiritual Direction are provided real transformation through the healing presence and power of the Triune God. [2] 

Christian Coaching adds another dimension to the transformational process of moving from ineffectiveness to excellence in ministry.  Coaching offers a unique piece to the puzzle of pastoral effectiveness and congregational direction.  “Coaching is the art and practice of guiding a person or group from where they are toward the greater competence and fulfillment that they desire.  Coaching helps people expand their vision, build their confidence, unlock their potential, increase their skills, and take practical steps toward their goals.”[3]  To fully engage in the mission of the church, both pastors and congregations could benefit from a Christian Coach.

Using a combination of Spiritual Direction and Christian Coaching, pastors and congregations can experience spiritual healing and growth.  When Spiritual Direction and Christian Coaching are employed, areas of strength are identified and celebrated, lives are transformed, congregations renewed, vision re-established, and God is glorified.  I truly believe that with an opportunity to receive this type of ministry, the spiral of pastoral burn-out and ineffectiveness as well as congregational stagnancy can be reversed. 

 

Top Ten Benefits of Working with a Network of
Independent Care Professionals through Aspen Tree Ministries (ATM)

1. You will be able to access a network of independent professional Care Providers who are qualified, gifted in their fields, and feel God’s call to work with pastors and Christian leaders. If you find that you need services other than what brought you initially, ATM can connect you to other professionals in our network, offering assurance that you will continue to receive excellent service.

2. You don’t have to search indiscriminately hoping to find someone who can provide excellent care. The ATM network checks the Care Provider’s credentials, experience, core beliefs, and undertakes ongoing supervision. If you have a concern, you have a place to go at Aspen Tree Ministries. We specialize in working with pastors and Christian leaders. 

3. Pastors and Christian leaders need a safe, confidential place to experience healing and wholeness. Many of us have been or are pastors. We consider it a high privilege to support leaders as they seek to authentically address issues keeping them from being their best in life and ministry.

4. With the multitude of challenges you have to negotiate, we know the value of your time. Working with a spiritually sensitive and skilled professional serves as a catalyst for your your change, accelerating the pace and trajectory of vital healing and wholeness.

5. God most often does a deep work in us before God does a deep work through us. ATM professionals are committed to partnering with God and you to experience transformation.

6. ATM understands that ministry and leadership is often lonely and isolating even as it is wonderful and fulfilling. We work to intentionally create supportive Christian community and empowering accountability. Leaders who are able to last through the highs and lows of ministry have people who will listen deeply to their hearts, accept them without judgment and support them to grow in the places of hurt and pain. This is a core value of Aspen Tree Care Providers.

7. Every person needs a place to go with what is closest to her/his heart. This is especially important for leaders so they can experience the power of God’s grace, healing and hope.

8. God is the cure giver; Aspen Tree’s network of independent professionals are care providers. We partner with God and you in the process that God is using to make you more like Jesus.

9. It is sometimes difficult for leaders to trust. We are committed to honoring your trust and helping you to feel safe as we address your concerns.

10. The ATM network serves globally while ministering locally, offering understanding, encouragement, and the skills needed to access the power of God more effectively. Give us a call; we would be honored to listen and serve you.

 

To see Process of Receiving Care/Coaching through Aspen Tree Ministries