The Crabby Pastor

103: Thriving in Faith Leadership Beyond the Shadow of Depression

February 27, 2024
103: Thriving in Faith Leadership Beyond the Shadow of Depression
The Crabby Pastor
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The Crabby Pastor
103: Thriving in Faith Leadership Beyond the Shadow of Depression
Feb 27, 2024

Join podcast host Margie Bryce and special guest Michael Bischoff from Soul Leader Resources as they delve into the art of constructing a sustainable life in ministry. In this enlightening discussion, Margie and Michael explore the beauty of self-care and the vital importance of integrating sustainability into our vocational callings. Michael bravely shares his personal journey battling depression, offering a beacon of hope to fellow leaders navigating the complexities of holistic wellness in the wake of COVID-19.

Experience the raw honesty of midnight anxieties and the suffocating grip of depression as we candidly address the unseen struggles endured by many spiritual leaders. Together, we explore the crucial roles of therapists, support groups, and trusted 'soul friends' in navigating these turbulent waters. Additionally, we uncover the unexpected sanctuary found in coaching, offering valuable guidance to leaders grappling with life's relentless pressures.

As we draw this poignant series to a close, the focus shifts to the essential pillars of self-care that safeguard against the looming threat of burnout. Margie shares invaluable resources such as a burnout questionnaire and her unwavering commitment to coaching, and empowering leaders to cultivate sustainable self-care practices. This episode transcends mere conversation; it serves as a roadmap for thriving in ministry without succumbing to the pitfalls of becoming the dreaded "Crabby Pastor."

Support the Show.

This is a GUILT-FREE zone! So here's your friendly nudge about self-care and its importance for the sake of your family, friends, and those you serve in ministry.

Get your FREE Burnout Questionnaire to help you assess whether you are dealing with just general tiredness or something MORE.
CLICK HERE FOR THE BURNOUT QUESTIONNAIRE.

I love scouring around to find great content to share, and am always interested in feedback, if you are or know of someone willing to share their Back from Burnout story so we can all learn together, then
CLICK HERE to email me.

And, if this is a reminder you wish to opt out of, that's fine too.

Blessings on your journey!

Margie

🦀 🦀 🦀

Find regular support on my Facebook group by clicking HERE.

Connect with me about COACHING and Workshops on self-care HERE.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join podcast host Margie Bryce and special guest Michael Bischoff from Soul Leader Resources as they delve into the art of constructing a sustainable life in ministry. In this enlightening discussion, Margie and Michael explore the beauty of self-care and the vital importance of integrating sustainability into our vocational callings. Michael bravely shares his personal journey battling depression, offering a beacon of hope to fellow leaders navigating the complexities of holistic wellness in the wake of COVID-19.

Experience the raw honesty of midnight anxieties and the suffocating grip of depression as we candidly address the unseen struggles endured by many spiritual leaders. Together, we explore the crucial roles of therapists, support groups, and trusted 'soul friends' in navigating these turbulent waters. Additionally, we uncover the unexpected sanctuary found in coaching, offering valuable guidance to leaders grappling with life's relentless pressures.

As we draw this poignant series to a close, the focus shifts to the essential pillars of self-care that safeguard against the looming threat of burnout. Margie shares invaluable resources such as a burnout questionnaire and her unwavering commitment to coaching, and empowering leaders to cultivate sustainable self-care practices. This episode transcends mere conversation; it serves as a roadmap for thriving in ministry without succumbing to the pitfalls of becoming the dreaded "Crabby Pastor."

Support the Show.

This is a GUILT-FREE zone! So here's your friendly nudge about self-care and its importance for the sake of your family, friends, and those you serve in ministry.

Get your FREE Burnout Questionnaire to help you assess whether you are dealing with just general tiredness or something MORE.
CLICK HERE FOR THE BURNOUT QUESTIONNAIRE.

I love scouring around to find great content to share, and am always interested in feedback, if you are or know of someone willing to share their Back from Burnout story so we can all learn together, then
CLICK HERE to email me.

And, if this is a reminder you wish to opt out of, that's fine too.

Blessings on your journey!

Margie

🦀 🦀 🦀

Find regular support on my Facebook group by clicking HERE.

Connect with me about COACHING and Workshops on self-care HERE.

Margie:

Hey there, Margie Bryce here bringing you the Crabby Pastor podcast, and I don't think you're going to be too surprised to know that it's too easy today to become the Crabby Pastor. Our time together will give you food for thought to help you be the ministry leader, fully surrendered to God's purposes and living into whatever it takes to get you there and keep you there. So we're talking about sustainability in ministry. So how do the pieces of your life fit together? Do they fit together well and things are humming along just fine, or are there some pieces that are tight or absent or just not fitting the bill? This is your invitation to join me in my glass workshop for a video series, where I am going to do a stained glass project while I talk to you about sustainability and building sustainability into your heart and into your life. So I am going to be doing my art, which is a form of self-care, and I'm going to invite you into that space with me and I'm going to chat. I'm going to chat about self-care and I'm going to show you how I create, and there's a nifty, nifty analogy. Stained glass seems to be a very good metaphor for what I want to talk about, so I'd love for you to join me. To do that, opt in, I'll need you to email me at KrabbyPaster at gmailcom. That's KrabbyPaster at gmailcom. So you won't want to miss this. You definitely won't want to miss this, so make a plan to join me in the glass workshop.

Margie:

This is Margie Bryce with the KrabbyPaster Podcast, and I have a guest with me today. We're going to talk about anxiety and depression. You know anxiety, I think, whether you're a ministry leader or not, I happen to think that that's one of the biggest issues in all of everybody. Really, how well we deal with our anxiety. If we don't deal with it, what happens? And then depression, and certainly post COVID and we still are, I think will be post COVID for a long time. So that is something that I think ministry leaders, especially in light of all that, are still dealing with. So I have Michael Bischoff here with he is with sole leader, and I'm going to have Michael introduce himself and give a brief snapshot of who he is and how he serves.

Michael:

Thanks, Margie, great to be with you today. Yeah, I was a pastor for 30 some years and in the midst of that I ended up going through some depression, which I'll talk about here in a second. But it was really that time in my life that helped me realize my true calling was to come alongside pastors and churches and other ministries and to help them finish well, to help them move toward wholeness. So that's what I get to do full-time.

Michael:

In the year 2000, I founded an organization called Soul Leader Resources and we work alongside pastors, missionaries, seminary students, denominations, nonprofit organizations, anyone where there's a need. We don't have a one-size-fits-all approach. Our goal is to come alongside and help leaders move from the fragmentation in their lives toward wholeness, and we do that through coaching, consulting, training, virtual direction, counseling, all kinds of things, and we absolutely love doing it. But yeah, this post-pandemic era that we're in has made things really challenging and there are a number of post-pandemic realities that we could focus on that every single day I'm experiencing pastors having to deal with and many of us just don't know how to deal with them.

Margie:

So then you know we have some topics that at some point we will get to, whether it's in this podcast or subsequent ones, that are post-pandemic realities, but even anxiety and depression are. That was an issue before. H ow would you say it's changed post-pandemic.

Michael:

Yeah, it's good. I mean, many of us, when we first heard about COVID and what this thing was becoming, had no idea what we were about to get into right. So there was some anxiety just learning. Oh okay, this isn't just in our country, this is global, this is around the world and that's a normal level of anxiety. Anxiety is just a clean of fear or dread or uneasiness. We all get it. It's very normal to have anxiety. But what we realize is people as a whole, our congregations as a whole, society as a whole started experiencing higher levels of anxiety than we'd probably ever experienced in our lifetime.

Michael:

And that's how it changed. And if you know anything about family systems therapy, it's really important to look at the anxiety in a system, so not just our own individual anxiety, because we don't want to minimize that at all. Many folks I mean even pastors I've talked to have had to go on an anti-anxiety medication because the anxiety has gone through the roof. But at the same time, our churches, our organizations have a level of anxiety that we need to pay attention to as well, and that's what's really changed. I think, both going through the pandemic and in the post-pandemic world, we have higher levels of anxiety, and for very obvious reasons and I want to say up front too I'm not a therapist. So it's important to say that I would have loved to have been a therapist. I do have a doctoral degree, but I didn't do it in that Mine's a more practical degree, but so it is important to refer to professionals when we talk about especially individual anxiety and what to do.

Michael:

But every single day I'm talking with leaders or dealing with churches whose levels of anxiety within their church, on their board, wherever the case would be have become so extreme that they just don't know what to do about it. So that's why I started talking about it more, because I'm a big believer that the more we talk about something, just that externalization process is so healthy, is so good to be able to discuss.

Margie:

Sure, and there's lots of reasons, realistic reasons, why anxiety can be high. Whether you're looking at, okay, the church I have now is not the church that I had before the pandemic. People have different responses to change the changes that had to take place because of the pandemic, and then now people want to go back to the comfort zone of whatever that looked like, right, right Churches you know, have not made it out of the 20th century and into the 21st century.

Margie:

And the fact that it's not that, the pace of change, well, it is accelerating at a faster pace today than, say, it did in the nineteen, fifties, nineteen, sixties, some what? Because of technology, for a lot of reasons. So, the acceleration of change, you come away, I think, anyway, of having the sense like what's going on, like at the very beginning of the pandemic you know what's going on, what's gonna happen here, and so you, you had down that road. What would you say are some indicators that your anxiety is something that you should get some help with.

Michael:

Yeah, yeah, that's good to know. I think when we really need to pay attention to the amount of loss and grief and trauma that we're experiencing, sometimes, depending on our personality, some of us want to kind of sweep that under the rug and be the tough individual, and, yeah, we really can't do that, and so we need to be able to understand that our brains can handle normal amounts of loss and grief and trauma. You know, if you go out and get a little fender bender, that's real frustrating, but but that's a level of loss you can deal with. It's it's very short lived, but psychologists will tell us we've been living through a time of complex trauma that our brains don't know how to deal with. And so, yeah, there are different levels, and so I think to pay attention to the amount of levels of those things in our life. I know for many people they had layers of loss and grief and trauma. It wasn't just the pandemic but they, if they knew someone that passed, if they had some health issues in their life, if there was an economic downturn, all of those things we need to pay attention to that.

Michael:

They don't that in our churches and you just refer to it, margie, but the landscape has changed within our churches. Right Immediately, attendance was an issue. Most churches I know or work with their attendance is is about half, some even a third of what it used to be. That's changed. Giving has been down, not in all places, but in many places the finances are a different reality and the expectations that people have of leadership of their church, of their pastor, etc. Has totally changed. So, understanding how the landscape has changed and it's not going back, like you said, we need to kind of accept that and go. How are we going to move forward? And I think in the era of, like, the personal expectations and I learned this from our mutual friend Dr Chris Adams- who does research in this area right of clergy, wholeness and renewal and flourishing.

Michael:

But even before the pandemic, researchers found out that the average pastor has 65 core competencies that were expected of them. Now that's ridiculous, because most jobs do not require that level of core competencies, and that was before the pandemic. That was before pastors had to learn how to live stream their services and do many other things that have come out of it. And then another one that is kind of an overlapping issue we could talk about. Also, just in and of itself, is the polarization in congregations increased hugely.

Michael:

There's a lot of reasons for that, but I used to think Jesus praise in John 17 let them be one, and it's all about unity. How do we move toward unity? And yet during the pandemic, we moved away from unity, it seems, not only within congregations, even denominations. Some denominations are splitting over issues, as most of us are aware of, and all of a sudden the polarization is so intense that most of us have not been trained as leaders how to deal with that kind of polarization. And that's hard, because we want to see unity, we want to see people get along. We all don't have to agree, we all don't have to be alike. In fact, that's what makes church kind of fun is being in a space where we can have great community around Christ without having to agree about everything. But that has changed as well. So those are some of the things that I'm seeing real practically that are so hard for leaders to deal with.

Margie:

Right, and I know I think you myself I would say I'm a practical theologian kind of person as well. So, yeah, you've listed off some great Wow, not great, I feel bad saying right, you've listed off some interesting aspects of things that can trigger anxiety and contribute to anxiety in ministry leaders, but at what point? What are some indicators that the anxiety level that you're experiencing is beyond what you can handle on your own?

Michael:

Yeah, yeah, that's so good you know. And that reminds me of the time I went through a time of eight months of clinical depression and I came from a background that said don't go to a counselor, that's secular humanism. So I didn't. This was early in my life, I was in my 20s and I didn't go get help and that was not good because I was staying up late at night. My wife would go to bed, I would stay up late because I didn't want to go to bed and because I knew I'd have to get up the next morning and there was a cycle of dread, almost if I thought you're going to stop the day the next day from showing up.

Michael:

I guess I don't know what I was thinking. I just, I just was trying to numb out. I literally would find a pizza place that had pizzas and I would order as late as possible, like one in the morning, and eat a big pizza, so it would keep me up even longer. So when you're finding yourself avoiding things like that, you know and yes, I had anxiety and I had depression, but I never experienced depression like that so if you see behaviors that you're you know are coming up in your life, that you're trying to avoid and run and you don't know where to turn, that's a danger sign. And I wasn't suicidal, but I did not want to talk to people. I was avoiding people. This is before email. Thank God that it was before email, because I would just not answer the phone and I would hide in my office and try to avoid people. So that's another one when you see the inability to interact in healthy ways. So those are some of the things you know that we need to look out for physical symptoms as well. You know difficulty sleeping and inability to have fun. This is called anhedonia. When you have the inability to experience pleasure. God wants us to experience pleasure. Creation and nature are created for that purpose, but often anhedonia is called a non-sadness depression, and so even you can be experiencing levels of these emotional consequences that you're not even aware of, and they can last for long periods of time. The good news is, they're able to find healing, and that's so important.

Michael:

I think both anxiety and depression are a couple of the emotional consequences that really are God-given gauges. Sometimes it can be God saying stop, listen to your soul, pay attention to what's making you sad, what are you running from Right, and don't bury it, because many of us can get busy and try to hide those things. Don't do that. They're indicating a need for change in some way, shape or form. And the other thing I say is don't go it alone. That advice I was given early was terrible advice about not seeing a therapist. Now we have therapists on our team at Soul Leader Resources for a reason because we want their expertise when we're dealing with leaders and churches that are facing very difficult circumstances. So, whether it's seeing a counselor or therapist or being part of a support group or even having what's sometimes called a soul friend, someone that you can just walk with and talk about the things you're facing, just don't go it alone.

Michael:

It's not that everybody needs medication for anxiety and depression. Some people do, and thank God that there are medications that can be extremely helpful. But I think the biggest thing when we're experiencing negative feelings like these, or what feel like negative feelings, is to be in community with someone, someone who's safe, someone you can talk to.

Michael:

As pastors, it's hard because we don't want to use our congregation as our therapist. You can't share everything. You can be honest and you can be vulnerable and authentic, and I think it's okay. I mean even 2 Corinthians 12, where the Apostle Paul says our strength is made perfect in weakness. It's okay to show our weakness, yet at the same time, we don't want to cross that line where our congregation is now acting as our therapist. So go get the help that you need to be able to talk to someone. I do a lot of coaching and that's some of the thing that happens in coaching Usually not with issues as severe as some of the things that counselors or therapists would see, but it's so fun to be able to help people every single day, talk about the needs in their life through coaching and to be able to get some of the help that they need.

Margie:

Sure, absolutely. In terms of depression, then. I know this was a few years ago, but I still think it's a relevant story to tell, so would you mind sharing that with us?

Michael:

Yeah, happy to do that. Yeah, I've gotten to share this story hundreds, if not thousands, of times and I feel like God gave it to me for a reason. So, yeah, in my very first full-time ministry experience, I was asked to be a youth pastor at a church. I was following a seminary professor that I knew, actually, who had been an interim pastor at this church and had just been asked to be their new senior pastor, and he had a chance to hire a bunch of new staff and he asked me in my 20s if I wanted to come and be a youth pastor. And I didn't really want to be a youth pastor, but I wanted to follow him.

Michael:

And I learned later that I was searching for a father figure in my life and I'd been doing that. I was raised in a single parent home and I never knew my dad. So there were many men in my life that were coaches or principals or youth pastors etc. That had sort of filled that need. Well, I thought I love this individual as a seminary professor, but when I joined this church staff, something was really different. Something was different than the seminary professor that I knew. All of a sudden, I was seeing things control and what I ended up learning was highly narcissistic behavior on the part of this individual. I really didn't even know what that meant at the time.

Michael:

A long story short, the board of that church ended up church disciplining that pastor for all the behaviors they saw. And I saw those same behaviors. I won't get into all the stories and all the details. It was very rough and took about six months period of time to go through all this. But the rest of the church staff all resigned. They thought the board was wrong and he had been treated unfairly. The lead pastor, but I didn't, so I stayed. Everybody else left and this was a church of about 350 people or so.

Michael:

I was still in seminary working on my master divinity degree at the time. They all left and the board didn't know what to do. So they turned to me. I'm still a youth pastor, but they said can you run the church, can you help us?

Michael:

And I was 25 at the time, I think maybe 26 at the time, and I'm like, oh, I didn't know what to do. So I said, yeah, I'll give it a shot. And so for the next year and a half I was basically their interim pastor, without that title and without much authority, but the church, thankfully, did stabilize. We called together some other young seminary students. We were like 26, 28, 30, and 32, all under 32. But they called the oldest one to be their lead pastor. Finally and he is still there till this day he's just actually retiring from that position some 35 years later. So the church stabilized, but I didn't. At the end of that time, with all the hits that I took, that's where I ended up going through eight months of what I now know was clinical depression, but I didn't get help for it and I didn't know where to turn and this was.

Margie:

This was where you were dreading tomorrow coming and yes during pizza at 1 am and exactly people and okay.

Michael:

Yeah, yeah, that's what happened back then and I didn't know what to do or where to turn and it was really dark and really frustrating. Thankfully I had a friend who came alongside and he and his wife had been getting some Christian counseling and there was some group counseling in our neighborhood. There was a group of actually a couple hundred people that was meeting at a hotel on a Monday night and they'd come together and for about two hours two, two and a half, three hours they would have a presentation on a topic that was in many cases I would call it a biblical topic. But I'm like, okay, I'm studying the Bible, but I never heard it put this way before, I'd never seen it this way before, and it was so helpful. And then we'd have another half hour or hour of questions and a response time and that was so helpful.

Michael:

And my wife and I kept going back, week after week after week. The first night we left my wife said to me she goes what do you think of this group? I said I think everybody in there is crazy and we kind of laughed at me, went on. But I went back because I wanted to hang out with our friends and because I was feeling like this friend was giving me grace and there was safety in that relationship in ways I'd never experienced before. The second week we went back.

Michael:

My wife said what do you think? I said, yeah, I don't think those people are so crazy. These discussions seem really helpful. The third week she asked me again so what do you think now? I said, honey, I think we're crazy and I think we need to keep going. And it was so helpful and for many years two, three, four years we would go every Monday night and that was safe for me because it didn't have some stigma of being counseling or therapy. It was just a big group of Christians getting together, talking about very important topics and doing so from a biblical perspective, and my whole life changed at that point.

Margie:

Wow, so you can go through depression and come out on the other side.

Michael:

Yes, definitely.

Margie:

And you can navigate anxiety well. I like to say the only people who don't experience anxiety are deceased right.

Michael:

Yeah, that's exactly right.

Margie:

It's a part of life. But there is a sense of pressure that I think pastors feel today, even this far post pandemic that you know. Now, okay, we're out and about this. Past Christmas season, advent season, we saw the big throngs coming again of people which the previous Advent we had not seen. People were still pretty cautious. People were, you know, feeling a little more emboldened to come out and be in groups. But at the same token, I fear that some pastors are feeling a sense of pressure then to get things back to the way they were before. Are you seeing some of that?

Michael:

Yeah, definitely. That's one reason I just keep saying strongly don't put that pressure on yourself. If they can get back to something new, something similar to what it was a similar church size or similar church budget that's great, but don't put your worth on that or your identity. So many pastors have their whole identity wrapped up in their role and literally because of all the pandemic realities, our role has been just hit strongly and I need to say don't do that, because that's what's going to send you to a dark place. You need to realize that. Yeah, as you continue on in your ministry and you know many are retiring early I'm doing a lot of transitional coaching for pastors, not only from one position to another, but even out of ministry into other areas of vocation.

Michael:

That's okay. I teach at a seminary for 17 years and the class I teach is on vocation and calling and how that our formation needs to intersect with those things so that we understand our vocation more deeply that we're ever God has us. We don't have to have a title that says pastor. Most pastors I know will do just as great a job pastoring in any area of job and they're still going to be pastoral people. They're just not going to get paid in the same way that a church paid them or whatever right and honestly, sometimes have more freedom outside of the church. So that's something we're seeing too. We're seeing kind of this transition out of professional, full-time paid ministry into other areas, but I think that's okay.

Michael:

The kingdom of God is bigger than the need to have you in a church pastor role and you are in the eyes of God. Your identity is in Christ, not in any role or with the title pastor in front of your name or as a door marker or something on your desk. It doesn't matter. God can use you in so many ways. So I talk a lot.

Margie:

There's so many ways that you can help people and some of the people that I've spoke to that have made that kind of transition. They have said things like I feel like I am having much more productive ministry now than what I did before, so there's a lot of opportunity out in the regular workforce to touch people and to be Jesus to other people.

Margie:

Like you said, you're not getting compensated for it and some people would argue against a paid professional pastorate anyway, necessarily. But for those who are remaining in the pastoral ranks, my training has told me to assess your strengths and work from those strengths. So if your congregation is one third or one half of whatever, the goal is not necessarily to get back to those bigger numbers, but the goal is to be productive With what you have, with the size group that you have. So I you know I would encourage some pastors to consider that.

Margie:

Yeah, yeah yeah, it's just retooling and reassessing your people, the gifts, the graces, the needs in your community, all of those things, the passion of your leadership and and to move forward and say that's who we were pre pandemic and this is who we are now, and step into that. Are you seeing that, those anything like that in your travels?

Michael:

yeah, yeah, I am, and that's a good thing, you know. I like to use a second Corinthians for analogy. Where in that chapter, apostle Paul says right at the beginning do not lose heart. Where, in a time where I think that's a great message, do not lose heart. And then at the end of that chapter, I think it's for sixteen, he says again do not lose heart. And so you need to go.

Michael:

Hey, whenever there's bookends like that in a biblical chapter, there's a reason for that. So what's in the middle? And it's in the middle that he gives that great metaphor of a clay pot. We have this treasure in clay pots or earth and vessels or jars of clay, depending on the translation. And what happens with those clay pots is they get dropped, they get hit, they break, their fragile, and I think that's a great metaphor for us.

Michael:

So today I'm seeing very fragile people, and the war is why I like to use the word fragmented. We live in a very fragmented society and culture. We personally are experiencing a high degree of fragmentation, ourselves and in our own communities, but the goal is to move from fragmentation to wholeness. So what I'm seeing is a lot of fragmentation. That's okay, let's just talk about it. I love talking about it with leaders. There's nothing to be embarrassed about because everyone's experiencing it. But how do you move toward wholeness? And that's one of the things about our ministry as soul leader that we use as our paradigm for all the coaching and training. Really, everything we do is we look and say, okay, if we've got fragments, how do we pay attention to the parts and then move them toward wholeness? So our spiritual formation, for example, right, how do we think about God in new and different ways? In fact, that was one of the things that Intersected.

Michael:

The pandemic is, in some ways, that we'd never, we weren't prepared for. Was that? Is God in control? Why is God doing this? Why is God allowing a global pandemic? Why would seven million people plus die during, you know, a global pandemic? So we need to be able to think about God in good ways, and in new ways and in healthy ways.

Michael:

So our spiritual formation is so important. Our emotional formation. We will have realities like anxiety and depression, like we've just discussed, things that are going on inside us. We need to pay attention to those kind of things and hedonia, which we mentioned, the inability to feel pleasure. All these things come out. We need people in our lives. Like I said, don't go it alone. That's relational formation, so make sure you have some people in your life to support you along the way.

Michael:

Mental formation your mind, how you thinking. Is God on your mind? Is our healthy thoughts on your mind, or how much of your thinking is toxic thinking, and you won't know that unless you're talking about how you're thinking with some other safe people as well. Physical formation our bodies. How is our body, how are our bodies affected? They're hugely, hugely affected, especially in the areas of stress and adrenaline and stress that we're experiencing, and therefore we need to have good sleep patterns, good rhythms of rest. We need to pay attention to our nutrition and our movement or exercise and understand embodiment in the best possible way. So many what we do. An assessment with pastors, and almost always the lowest scoring one, is physical formation, the way we don't do a good job stewarding our bodies.

Margie:

Yeah, I'm so glad you use the word stewardship in there. That's what I tied to it, you know you want to be able to go the distance and live into your vocation and your call, yeah To do that. We've been given this vessel.

Michael:

Exactly. And then the last area we say is called missional formation. It's just what we've called it and to us that's the gospel living itself out through our lives. And if your life is falling apart, you know when my life was falling apart in eight months of clinical depression, my life wasn't good news. So I can talk to someone else, you know I can talk to someone else, but they look at me and they go.

Michael:

Why would I want to follow that God or why would I want to be part of your church, if your life's falling apart? Now I'll say at the same time we're not perfect, we're not striving for perfection here, we just want to be whole. But the gospel and understanding the kingdom of God is thriving at any time. Often we don't see it, but it's thriving. And so how we live out the gospel in the kingdom of God to me is what a healthy missional formation looks like.

Michael:

So those six dimensions are what we look at and I would encourage everybody listening to say yeah, if you're experiencing any of this anxiety and depression, don't just get too narrow minded but realize as a spiritual formation there's an emotional formation, there's a mental formation, relational formation, physical formation, missional formation. Pay attention to all the dimensions of how God created us as humans, listen deeply and know that it's going to be a process. It's going to be a journey as we move from a dualistic understanding of our lives to a more holistic understanding of our lives, and I think that's a great process and that's a process that I help leaders through and absolutely love helping leaders through. That does give you a sense of hope and a future and a different direction.

Margie:

And at the same time, it's not like it's a switch that you just flip and there you go. It takes some time to relearn and put your life in a different order so that you can live into it, and sometimes that's a little disorienting at first because your life feels differently. But at the end of the journey, or at least along the way even of your journey, you're going to start to sense some new life emerging as you go on your journey. Well, I want to thank you for these good words today, michael Bischoff, and I'm sure we are going to have you back. We came up with a list of some real post pandemic realities that ministry leaders are living through, so I just want to thank you very much for your good words here today.

Michael:

You're welcome, margie. Thank you.

Margie:

Are you wondering whether your fatigue, your lack of motivation, your lack of interest is burnout Maybe? I just wanted to let you know that I have a resource on the website, margiebryce dot com that's B-R-Y-C-E margiebryce dot com and it is a burnout questionnaire, free for you to download, and kind of self-assess and get a sense of where you're at. There are questions that not only ask about what you're going through but maybe how often you're experiencing it and that's that's kind of a key to where you might be, because you have to know where you are in order to chart a course forward. And most pastors who experience pastors and ministry leaders who experience burnout rarely know that that's where they're at until they're well into it. And if you're unsure about that little statistic, so far, everybody that I've interviewed on this podcast who has experienced burnout, when I asked that kind of question, they're like, yeah, I didn't know that's where I was at. So again, go to margiebricecom it's on the homepage of the website and you can get your burnout questionnaire and kind of see where you're at.

Margie:

Hey friends, the Crabby Pastor podcast is sponsored by Bryce Art Glass and you can find that on Facebook.

Margie:

I make stained glass, that's part of my self-care and also by Bryce Coaching, where I coach ministry leaders and business leaders, and so the funds that I generate from coaching and from making stained glass is what is supporting this podcast and I will have opportunities for you to be a part of sponsoring me and, as always, you can do the buy me a cup of coffee thing in the in the show notes.

Margie:

But I will have some other ways that you can be a part of getting the word out about the importance of healthy self-care for ministry leaders. Hey, thanks for listening. It is my deep desire and passion to champion issues of sustainability in ministry and for your life, so I'm here to help. I stepped back from pastoral ministry and I feel called to help ministry leaders create and cultivate sustainability in their lives so that they can go the distance with God and whatever plans that God has for you. I would love to help, I would consider it an honor and, in all things, make sure you connect to these sustainability practices you know, so that you don't become the Crabby pastor.

Sustainability & Leadership Challenges in Ministry
Recognizing and Addressing Anxiety and Depression
Navigating Challenges in Pastoral Ministry
Holistic Self-Care for Ministry Leaders