In a 2017 LCMS church worker and spouse research survey, 26% experienced serious marital difficulties, 24% suffer from anxiety or depression, 55% experience stress from financial concerns and 47% lack a spiritual companion.
What do all these numbers mean? Church workers and their families suffer, just like anyone else, and they are more likely to feel isolated and unable to seek help. The good news, is that you can help change this.
3 Ways to Support Your Church Workers
1. Research & Identify
Dedicate time for your group to research and gather ideas about needs that are particular to church workers and their families. Find out how others are successfully supporting them. Identify needs specific to your pastor and his family.
Take note of special days for everyone in the family such as birthdays, baptism anniversaries, wedding anniversary, ordination anniversary, etc. Be mindful of signs of stress, isolation or other difficulties. Help find reputable, Christian ministries and resources that address mental health and marriage needs.
2. Get Creative
Work to build a list of ways to support the needs identified with a plan, schedule and calendar to help bring it to life that shares who will do what and when. Some examples: If they are a young couple with children, make a plan to provide child care one evening per week to allow for a weekly “date night”. If your pastor is working to improve health, make a schedule to deliver healthy snacks once per week. If your pastor’s wife loves to draw or craft, include gift certificates to a local art or craft supply store for her birthday.
Find ways to foster the development of supportive, long-term relationships between members and church workers and their families. Encourage them to seek help if they are struggling with mental health issues. Devise a plan that includes all aspects of wellness: spiritual, relational, emotional, physical, and financial. And make sure to include prayer!
3. Involve & Evolve
Make sure your plan involves the young, old and in-between. This is a great way to include youth in meaningful activities as well as teaching future generations how to care for their pastor and family. Revisit the plan every quarter and make sure it evolves and changes with the changing needs of your pastor and his family.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,” Eph 4:11