During the past several weeks, I’ve had the privilege of talking with clergy from South Africa, the United States, and the UK about their ministries. I have been inspired by their faithfulness, their witness, and their ministries. I love and admire them greatly.
However, in listening to my colleagues I have also sensed that among many clergy these days there is low morale. I realize my evidence is entirely anecdotal, but I have been struck with the familiarity of the stories across cultures.
Once we get beyond the pleasantries and I have asked how they are doing in their ministries I have heard similar stories of frustrations and despondency. It may take a while, but eventually the conversation turns to two things:
- the decline in attendance and membership in the church
- the inability to be effective agents of social transformation in troubling political environments
Whether they think that they ought to be responsible for these things or not (some do and some don’t), they feel as though they are still being measured by these things. And despite the many faithful and creative ways they are trying to grow the church and to change the world for the better, they feel like they are banging their heads against the wall.
My honest question is How can and should we address the low morale among clergy these days?
Please note I am asking a specific question. I am not asking about how we can grow the church. I am also not asking how the church and its leaders can be more effective in transforming our political situations. I am asking about how to address the low spirits many clergy are feeling around these issues today.