Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

David McDonald, DMin

Second Advisor

Calvin Habig, DMin

Third Advisor

Jim Eichenberger


Every year, the North American church experiences an overwhelming percentage of pastors who leave the ministry, citing internal and external pressures for their decisions to abandon what they once perceived as their divine calling. Many pastors are forced into a personal development strategy that is neither helpful, nor holistic, pursuing scads of resources outside of Christian and theological disciplines, many of which are misapplied. These drastically affect the long-term health of pastors and their overall health and effectiveness in ministry. How can pastors develop a personal development strategy that adequately accounts for the major areas of health in the life of a minister? How can this strategy equip them for interminable seasons of ministry? There are three particular streams of pastoral health and personal development that are necessary for developing a personal development strategy that takes into consideration the overall health of the pastor. These three streams will take into consideration the personal, vocational, and systemic demands of life and ministry. Section One highlights the present condition of many ministers, adequately building a case for personal development. Section Two covers two perceived methods of personal development and pastoral health: pop psychology and executive authority. This section concludes that pop psychology and isolated forms of leadership can be temporarily effective, but long term they are detrimental to the health of the minister. Section Three builds the case for three streams of personal development, providing pragmatic research that can be variably applied in local settings. This is advocating for a descriptive form of ministry, illuminating what healthy functions of life and ministry can look like. Sections Four and Five detail an artifact, and proposal, in book form titled, Sad Pastor: An Imaginative Story of Healing vi for Clergy. Sad Pastor will be a humorous, pragmatically-heavy resource designed for creating healthier lives of pastors.

Included in

Christianity Commons