In what way can a congregation be supportive of the emotional health of their staff? I want to suggest an approach that an official board could take that would allow them to be attentive to their staff’s emotional health. I will use the example of a pastor but it could be applied to any staff member. I also think there could be great value in allowing the members of the board to also have the same experience from time to time.
The exercise is simple. At least once a quarter ask the pastor to reflect on two to three satisfying movements in the congregation and/or in his or her pastorate. Then ask him or her to also identify at least one area which troubles them. This is not a time for debate but simply of listening to the satisfactions and concerns of your spiritual leader.
Once the concern and satisfactions have been shared, the session might expand the discussion in the following manner. Without debating whether the described experience looks the same from someone else’s perspective, explore what effect it might have on the life of the church if either the positive or negative movement would increase at least ten fold. What you are doing is exagerating the trend before it has happened in order to look at its implications.
What you are doing for the pastor is allowing him or her to share the beginnings of movements within the congregation that affect him or her emotional satisfaction within their ministry. If this happened quarterly, the church would have a sense of the pulse of the leadership of their church and maybe be able to address both the positive and negative before they became too large to handle.