Soul Care is a lifestyle of regular, ongoing, non-crisis activity that promotes growth and development of the whole person into maturity.
As Richard stood staring out his office window, he knew something was wrong. His enthusiasm for ministry that had accompanied him for nearly thirty years was gone. He was tired, spiritually dry, and growing bitter about his situation.
Soon after making the move to the home office a decade earlier, Richard realized that the title ‘executive director’ principally meant ‘fund raiser.’ But his organization was in need of much more than money. As with most traditional North American mission agencies entering the twenty-first century, his was working its way through deep organizational change. Richard had spent several years contending in the stressful whitewater that so often accompanies major transitions.
Richard was suffering from burnout. It was obvious that he had not adequately cared for himself. There was no mentor, no margin, and no genuine accountability in his life. Some might even go as far as to say that he only had himself to blame. After all, CEOs should know better.
But is it completely fair to say that this missionary-turned-mission executive was the only party responsible for what was happening? Granted, Richard’s lack of self-leadership led him down this road, but another question (and one which is seldom asked) is legitimate: How could the mission have allowed Richard to ignore his self-care? Where were the checks and balances?
While this true story did not end in tragedy, it does leave us with a couple of sobering questions: First, how many missionaries in our ranks are struggling and, as a result, are discouraged, unable to perform at the top of their game, feeling trapped, or may even be teetering on the brink of personal disaster?
Most agencies do well at providing pastoral and professional …