Resilience in Ministry

On Thursday April 2nd, 2020 our Tasmanian brothers and sisters ran a fantastic MTS Training Day Zoom-cast.

Dan Shepheard (Senior Minister, Crossroads Presbyterian Church, Hobart, Tasmania) led a session titled, “Resilience in Ministry”.

Dan described the session as an “extended book review” of Burn, Chapman and Guthrie’s research titled, “Resilient Ministry: What pastors told us about surviving and thriving”.

The authors of the book interviewed hundreds of gospel workers and came up with 5 key attributes that a Pastor needed to survive & thrive.

They were:

  1. Abiding in Christ / Spiritual Formation – a strong and vigorous spiritual life
  2. Role vs Identity – the Pastor needed to be able to differentiate their role as Pastor from their identity as a person
  3. Emotional and Cultural Intelligence – to be aware of their own emotions and the emotions others displayed to them
  4. Family and Marriage – a clear understanding of spousal expectations in the marriage
  5. Leadership & Management – leadership being the soft skill to lead change (poetry) and management being the plumbing to the poetry.

Dan spent just over an hour putting flesh on each of the 5 bones.

I have been a Pastor for almost 30 years and much of what he said made my think, “I did not realise or know that. Ah, it makes so much sense”.

He has some radical suggestions regarding the Pastor and a Sabbath that are worth checking out.

So many Pastors in Australia (& the world) do not serve as long as they originally intended or would like.

That is both tragic and avoidable. This audio recording can help Pastors go the distance.

I commend Dan’s session to you.

Download the audio here and listen to it alone or with your spouse if you’re married:


by Ben Pfahlert, MTS National Director