By Ron Cook

Ron and his wife Rodetta have been married for 41 years. They have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. Ron ministers to hundreds of pastors annually through mentorship, counseling, and by phone. He has been a Pastor for 40 years and understands the stress of ministry, and wants to share his longevity in ministry with other pastors and help them finish well.

    8 Things to Do When Depression Hits Your Pastor

    Wednesday, December 07, 2022

    By Chuck Lawless

    More and more pastors are dealing with the issue of depression. The pain is often deep, and few pastors have immediate places to turn for guidance and comfort. I write this post to help churches whose pastor might be facing this struggle. If that’s your church, here are some of my thoughts:

    1. Don’t be surprised. It happens. Sometimes we pastors, too, bear wounds from yesterday, and we often carry heavy burdens from today. As I’ve written before, “dark nights of the soul” are not uncommon. In fact, historical heroes of faith like Charles Spurgeon and Martin Luther faced these kinds of battles.
    1. Don’t assume it’s a sign of a lack of faith. Depression may well become a faith struggle, but it’s not an immediate indication that a pastor lacks faith. The issues are often much more than that, and pastors have a tendency to keep silent about all of them.
    1. Don’t take it personally. Depression can be a long-term issue with multiple causes, and seldom is one tough church the cause. That’s not to say, though, that a tough congregation doesn’t make healing more difficult. Church members who act like non-believers don’t help anybody.
    1. Do pray for (a) patient understanding for your members and (b) healing for your pastor. Members may not fully understand the issues of depression, and they may first be surprised that pastors deal with such things. Pastors simply want God to strengthen them and grant them victory.
    1. Do offer help with counseling time and costs. Insurance should help, but additional costs might add up. In my estimation, a church has some obligation to help their pastor find healing—both for the sake of their church and for the sake of his present and future ministry.
    1. Do find your own role in the church and serve fully. Depression among pastors is often exacerbated by their belief—faulty though it is—that they must do everything nobody else will do. On the other hand, you likely cannot know the joy and peace a pastor gets when his members serve well and thus remove some of his stress.
    1. Do pray daily for your pastor’s family. The stresses on a family are great, and many families bear that weight silently and quietly. Don’t wait until you hear your pastor’s family is in trouble to start praying; rather, start praying now that the enemy would not devour their home.
    1. Do encourage your pastor for a job well done. Too many church members just assume that their pastor knows their love and support, but their silence often says something to a leader who’s already battling internal strife. A little affirmation can be more powerful than you might imagine.

    Pray for your pastor today, and let us know how we might pray for you if this post speaks to you.

    Click here to read the original article on

    Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at

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