Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Lacy Borgo, DMin
Phil Newell, DMin
MaryKate Morse, PhD
Pastors in the Open Bible Churches denomination struggle with spiritual health, even as they lead local congregations. The perils of vocational ministry can often contribute to emotional fatigue, disillusionment, and exhaustion, commonly referred to as “burnout.” Pastors serve sacrificially in their churches, giving all that they have for the lives of the others. However, the life many pastors live actually negatively impacts themselves as well as others around them, thus negating the purpose for which they strive.
This Doctor of Ministry project sought to discover how ministers can remain spiritually healthy while actively leading the local church. Much of the problem stems from an identity crisis. Many pastors lack the certainty of their identity because they have inadvertently remained self-deceived. Lacking self-awareness is a dangerous and systemic problem among people in general, but Open Bible pastors specifically. Jesus said that He came to give life, and give it abundantly (John 10:10). Since Jesus indicated that abundant life is possible for individuals, pastors too have hope that they can experience a vibrant, fruitful life in the ministry, yet many never actually experience this.
Open Bible’s heritage plays a central role both positively and negatively in how pastors experience the abundant life. Key features, such as the power of the Spirit and a reliance on prayer, are healthy and necessary for pastors to live abundantly. A foundation is in place. The next steps for healthy pastors involve the awareness of the problem and then development of a plan of action that implements practices often foreign to the Open Bible perspective, but are still Christian in nature. This author’s hope is that this work encourages pastors that they are not alone in their journey of pastoral leadership, as well as reminds pastors of key pillars that can sustain them throughout their ministry.
Hebden, Isaac, "The Avoidance of Burnout Among Open Bible Pastors: Creating Healthy and Vibrant Leaders in Ministry" (2020). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 376.