Tag Archives: pastoral health

Pastors Help Pastors Reach New Heights of Wholeness, Wellness

Tom Pelt and Jonathan Absher hiking in Colorado.

By Carl Stagner

At 14,000 feet, the views are breathtaking, but so is the air. Lower levels of oxygen—considered “thin” air—combined with unpredictable weather and potentially hazardous trail conditions, can pose health risks, at minimum, to even the most avid athlete. Hiking alone is not recommended at such altitudes, though many insist on doing so. Church of God pastors Tom Pelt and Jonathan Absher have reveled in the mountaintop experience among Colorado’s highest peaks and have recognized the vivid parallels to ministry. In an effort to see pastors minister at their peak, they’ve championed the holistic health vital to the daily climb. Without reinventing the wheel, but with intentionality and a genuine love for fellow pastors, they’ve taken specific strides in recent years to come alongside pastors, pull them out of isolation into community, and help them reach new heights of wholeness and wellness. Continue reading

Lilly Gathering Affirms CARE Initiative’s Heart for Pastors

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Photo: CARE Team at the Lilly Gathering, including Cheryl Elff, Rachel and Ryan Harter, Joseph Cookston, Julia Feirtag, Jessica and Jeremy Zerkle.

By Joseph Cookston

“We were inspired; giving our pastors financial freedom positively affects individual communities and the society at-large; we were validated and motivated…” so reports Julia Feirtag, member of the CARE Initiative Steering Team, as a result of her participation in the Lilly Gathering, November 3 and 4 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This Lilly Gathering brought to Indianapolis representatives from twenty-nine national Christian church groups, including the Church of God, a recipient of one such Lilly Endowment grant in 2015. Last year, these twenty-eight other judicatories also received grants to address the economic challenges facing pastoral leaders among their constituent membership. Continue reading

Virginia Takes Steps to Address Pastoral Health and Excellence

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By Carl Stagner

Pastors, you are not alone. Across the country, in your state, and likely even in your community there are other men and women called to preach the gospel just like you. They spend countless hours in study, sermon prep, visitation, counseling, event planning, fundraising, and cleaning the bathrooms, too. Like you, they shepherd a flock with its beauty and its imperfections. So why do so many pastors go it alone? In the Church of God, state assemblies and regions have discovered the power of SHAPE—Sustaining Health and Pastoral Excellence—to bring pastors together in fellowship, networking, and accountability. About twenty state or regional assemblies have been encouraged by the impact of SHAPE on their pastors and, by extension, their congregations. Now SHAPE is on the move, and its destination is Virginia. Continue reading