Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Every year Lutheran clergy resign pastoral calls citing one, primary reason: burnout. Certainly, the demands of pastoral call within a congregation are easy to observe: long on-call periods of time, intense levels of pastoral care needs, and navigating multifaceted, interpersonal relationships, to name a few. While these demands become symptomatic to the problem of burnout, the determining cause is still unknown, especially given the various contextual factors for these pastors. Yet, the number of pastors leaving ministry or experiencing shortened tenures is alarming. In the Lutheran church, spiritual formation language is often associated with determined deficiencies. Other times, spiritual formation is viewed with less value than Biblical and theological knowledge. Historical and theological evidence is recorded giving credence to the reality that spiritual formation has been part of the ecology of Lutheranism since it’s conception. As example, Martin Luther supported the need for of formation for the family and the pastor. Through Scripture, Lutheran theology, and qualitative research, this study intends to reveal the importance of spiritual formation for those in a pastoral call. Chapter One offers insight into the problem of deficient spiritual formation and the consequences. Chapter Two relies on Biblical support to better define the role of the pastor for the sake of God’s ministry and the church. In addition, Lutheran theology illustrates the nature of pastoral ministry. Chapter Three explores some of the current solutions being proposed to address the problem of deficient Spiritual Formation. Chapter Four will give support to the solutions proposed by the author Chapter Five will highlight the tangible practice of one of the solutions suggested, that of Sabbath. Chapter Six summarizes key elements and invites further study to address the issue of deficient Spiritual Formation and ideally create a path to healthy clergy for the sake of the future church.
Becker, Jody, "The Ecological Gift of Spiritual Formation: A Renewal for Healthy Clergy" (2017). Doctor of Ministry. 229.