Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Nijay Gupta, PhD

Second Advisor

Holley Clough, DMin

Third Advisor

MaryKate Morse, PhD


While stress is inevitable in ministry leadership, excessive stress can lead to burnout. Pastors who experience burnout causes harmful effects on their loved ones. Burnout also contributes to health complications, spiritual dryness, marital dissatisfaction, and strained family relationships. Continuously ignoring early warning signs burnout can be harmful for pastors and their loved ones.

Focusing on the individual pastor is insufficient to inoculate the clergy family system from the devastating effects of burnout. In addition, their family members need to be cared for as well. It is proposed that clergy families would be able to thrive in ministry if they received training, support, and encouragement to help them to establish healthier ways to maintain their self-care, soul care, and family care practices. This dissertation will evaluate clergy family functioning based on family systems theory. It will discuss the distinctions between normal family stress vs. excessive family stress by introducing a stress model that can be applied to help improve clergy family functioning.

This dissertation will include a resilience model that is proposed to be an effective solution to this ministry problem with the focus on leader care (the pastor) and family care (the clergy family system). In particular, this training program features selfcare, soul care, and family care practices to help cultivate clergy family resilience.

Included in

Christianity Commons