What Clergy Don’t Talk About

What Clergy Don’t Talk About

Most pastors are good preachers, and some fine pulpiteers and wordsmiths. In their preaching and teaching ministry they need to cover a wide range of topics, issues, and subjects, from the Bible to contemporary complex social issues; from marriage to parenting to leadership. The image of addressing issues from cradle to grave, birth to death (or “womb to tomb”) is apt. There are, however, things clergy are not prone to talking about easily. Money issues, for example tends to be difficult for clergy, whether personal or church finances. Sexuality, race, politics can be difficult for some (though interestingly, not sports!). Personal struggles with depression, loneliness, feelings of incompetence, and crises of faith may be near the top of things clergy do not talk about—all to their detriment, and, to risk of spiritual and mental health.

The Center for Lifelong Learning will offer two opportunities for clergy to talk about two important things clergy don’t often talk about. The first is an opportunity to talk about money and ministry. The online course, “Money and Your Ministry” will provide an opportunity to read and talk about our relationships between money and ministry. The impetus for the dialog is my observation that churches that tend to have the greatest difficulties with budgets, money, and stewardship tend to be congregations whose pastoral leaders have not resolved their personal issues with money.

Author Margaret Marcuson will facilitate the course. She is a recognized expert in the issues of money and ministry and is the author of Money and Your Ministry. I’ve known Margaret for several years (she serves on the faculty of the Leadership in Ministry workshops) and have heard her speak and have read her works on this issue. In this course Margaret addresses the foundational causes of why it is so difficulty for us to talk about money–and how we fail our congregations when we do not talk about money. Join us for this important learning experience! The course runs April 29 to May 31, 2019. Registration is now open.

A second issue clergy do not talk about is about experiencing a forced termination from a church or ministry. This is no surprise in a culture that is obsessed with “winning” and the denial of failures. Because clergy don’t talk about this matter, it’s become a silent epidemic. The Healthy Transition Wellness Retreat for Clergy and Spouses offers a safe and healing place for those who have experienced a forced termination, or who are in the midst of conflict possibly leading to termination. This retreat is for both clergy and their spouses, who often experience the trauma of a termination in similar but unique ways. The cost is $100 per person or $150 per couple. You probably know colleagues in this situation, encourage them to attend. And if this is something you need, we’re here for you.

Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. Formerly, he was Dean at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer and Don Reagan.

His books on Christian education include Mastering the Art of Instruction,The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice), and A Christian Educator’s Book of Lists (S&H), and Theories of Learning for Christian Educators and Theological Faculty.

Galindo contributes to the Wabash Center’s blog for theological school deans.

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