Spring 2020 Talking Points Will Provide Resources to Encourage Pastoral Well-Being
by Audrey Wierenga (B.A. ’18)
Anyone who has attended a Talking Points conference in recent years knows that the topics have been thought-provoking, including everything from LGBTQ+ in the church to justice and poverty. The Spring 2020 Talking Points will engage attendees in a new way.
This spring's conference is titled "Resilience: Finding Wholeness in Ministry by Way of the Cross" and will cover the topic of ministry leaders who face burnout while constantly pouring themselves out to their congregation.
"We want to focus on pastoral well-being," said Darrell Yoder, director of Talking Points and the Pirsig Fellowship. "The work of ministry can erode our sense of well-being and calling."
The program will include four speakers and a panel discussion led by pastors. The speakers will consist of Dr. Matt Bloom, principle investigator of the Well Being at Work Program for the University of Notre Dame, and Bob Burns, contributing author of "Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving."
"Being exposed to this research will also be helpful for seminary students," Yoder remarked. "It will promote resilient, healthy lifelong ministry."
This conference is the grand finale of a grant project with the Lilly Endowment, which has focused on financial literacy for ministry leaders. Yoder believes pastoral burnout is not only a spiritual issue but can also be influenced by financial decisions many churches and ministry leaders face.
"Currently, the average life of a pastor's ministry is about 10 years," Yoder said. "It's sort of at a crisis level. Pastors can face a lot of unrealistic expectations from their ministries."
This Talking Points program is unique in that it will offer a discounted registration rate and free books. Yoder hopes to have three scholars participate in interviews for video resources that will take a deeper dive into the topic.
"Pastors are in community with their church, but they think they have to go it alone," Yoder said. "They often feel isolated and realize they need to reach outside the church."
This spring's Talking Points will take place on March 17, 2020. For more information on speakers, registration and other resources, visit the conference webpage.