Being a pastor is an extreme privilege. Being used by God in the growth and maturity of believers is deeply fulfilling. But pastoring carries with it a dark side. The job of a pastor can be isolating, discouraging, and hazardous to your emotional wellbeing unless you address these ever-present risks in an intentional way.
When a pastor is angry, discouraged, or tempted, to whom do they turn for help or encouragement? Leaders struggling with depression, anxiety, or other disabling issues usually do not turn to their board or congregation due to a legitimate concern that it could be held against them later. Nor do many ministers feel comfortable seeking out their denominational leaders. It’s hard to be an open book with someone who has the ability to terminate or disrupt your current or future employment opportunities.
So . . . what’s a pastor to do? For many pastors they just grit it out or suffer in silence. What if a safe place existed for a pastor to be honest about the good things happening in their life and ministry, as well as the not so good things that are happening? A place to learn, to process issues and vulnerabilities, and to build new friendships?
Pastor huddles are that safe place. The huddles are a secure resource that help leaders connect with other people in ministry in a confidential setting, gain a healthier perspective on ministry, and feel more competent and confident in their calling. These are peer groups of 8-12 members who meet monthly online to share concerns, prayer requests, and provide mutual support to each other all in a context of absolute confidentiality. The sincere and candid dialogue and the deep friendship bonds that are formed help combat isolation and loneliness.
Listen to the testimonies of current pastor huddle members:
- “Being a part of a huddle has many great advantages. It has expanded my network of not just pastors, but of my friends in ministry. Our monthly conference calls have challenged me to be a better minister but even more importantly a husband and father.”
- “The importance of intentionally putting yourself in an environment with like-minded people where each of us learn and grow, find encouragement and authentic community, while exchanging ideas and valuable insights for ministry . . . that has been the personal value to me of being a part of a pastors huddle.”
- “The huddles have been inspiring and very relevant for my ministry.”
In this increasingly chaotic time, growing our network of trusted relationships has become an essential aspect of getting and staying healthy as a leader. A pastor huddle will help you flourish as a person, a parent, a spouse. It’s a safe setting where you can become healthier, more competent, and more confident in your calling.
As a PastorWell™ member, you can join a huddle for free. Go to the PastorWell™ membership portal and let us know that you’re interested. We’ll take it from there.
John Opalewski is a PastorWell Peer Huddle Facilitator and Founder Converge Coaching.