Wheaton College to Hold One-Day Summit Dealing with Harsh Realities of Pastoral Ministry
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Dr. Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, appeared on Friday afternoon's edition of CBN's Newswatch to discuss the one-day GC2 Summit. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel. For a programming guide, click here.
Lifeway Research reports that many pastors are dealing with incredible stress. In one survey, 84 percent said they're on call 24-hours a day and more than half said they frequently find the role of pastor overwhelming.
In response, Wheaton College located in Wheaton, IL, will be the site of a one-day summit next month for pastors and church leaders to talk about leadership, burnout and mental health.
The GC2 Summit 2019 will address the harsh realities and challenges that are faced in pastoral ministry.
GC2 stands for "Great Commission/Great Commandment" and will be the fourth summit hosted by the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
The summit's first year was centered around the refugee crisis, the second year targeted the problem of mass incarceration, and last year focused on the crisis of sexual abuse and violence in our churches.
"This is a global problem, also impacting pastors and leaders inside the church. We must face it head-on as the body of Christ," Rick Warren, senior pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA said.
"The biggest thing we can do is to remove the stigma behind mental illness and let pastors and leaders get help," Warren explained. "We have to assure our leaders that it's not a sin to be sick. Your chemistry is not your character, and your illness is not your identity."
The event was established, in part, by the recent suicide of Pastor Jarrid Wilson. Wilson was a mental health advocate who founded Anthem of Hope, a faith-centered organization dedicated to amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, and suicide.
In an interview with CBN's Newswatch on Friday, Dr. Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College said the cause behind the summit is to bring evangelical leaders and pastors together to talk about how the helpers can get help.
"The complexity of pastoring as become much more challenging today," he said. "There are complexities and the challenges of their own mental health struggles, burnout and constantly being on demand."
"Ultimately, our pastors are struggling and in need of care and we want to help our pastors to not take unhealthy actions or decisions," Stetzer said.
Rick Warren and a group of leaders and counselors will be present at the summit to assist those in attendance.
"We are doing the summit because we think there is not a general safe pathway for a pastor to say, 'Hey, I need some help," Stetzer told CBN News.
He said their goal is to help pastors have a strong and stable ministry.
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