Podcast Ep.121: The Pastor and PTSD (Sean Nemecek)

Pastoring is one of the hardest jobs around. Just ask any of us. The expectations and pressures can at times become nearly unbearable. Having said that, putting the two words, PASTORING and PTSD (okay, that’s an abbreviation, not a word, but I regress) is a surprising combination of realities. But it’s all two real; many pastors do experience something short of PTSD. My interview with Sean Nemecek opened my eyes to the deep, sometimes unbearable pressures pastors face. He also helped me understand how it can be avoided, and how it can be treated. If you are a pastor, and you’ve experienced burnout, this podcast will give you fresh perspective and offer you hope. If. you are not a pastor, but love your pastor and love your church, this podcast will provide you with the resources on how best to encourage your pastor. The role the church has in providing a supporting context for the pastor is great. We hope you will take advantage of this conversation, and look at how your church can be a healthy community not just for you and others, but also for your pastor.

Here is what Sean says about himself and his work: I work to bring new hope and health to hurting pastors and their families. During my 18 years as a pastor, I went through serious ministry burnout. To recover I needed help but didn’t know where to turn. So, I built a team of people to help me— a friend, a mentor, a coach, a spiritual director, and a counselor. This approach was expensive and time-consuming, but it worked.

Now, I provide the support to other pastors that wasn’t readily available to me. Since joining PIR Ministries in January of 2020, I’ve helped many pastors and their spouses navigate burnout, forced exit, or other ministry stress. My first goal is to be a friend — someone provides a safe space for pastors to be themselves without asking anything from them. If these pastors choose, I also offer clergy coaching, ministry assessments, or mentoring.

My book, The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout, comes out of my own experience and coaching other pastors through burnout. It takes Christian leaders on a journey from burnout through recovery and on to spiritual transformation. 

By understanding the causes and symptoms of their burnout these leaders will be ready to take practical, actionable steps toward recovery. Then, if they choose, they will be poised to do the inner work of spiritual transformation by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In the end, these leaders will emerge from burnout more confident in Christ, more connected with others, and with greater purpose, courage, and grace in their leadership.

PIR Ministries is faith-based, nonprofit, para-clergy ministry. We each raise our own financial support so that we can help pastors at minimal cost to them. It’s always a challenge to raise enough support to keep going. If you would like to learn more this ministry, please visit the PIR Ministries websitecontact me, or you can make a special or recurring donation here.

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