By Robert White

Dr. Robert White was raised in central Florida and completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. After college, he completed the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. For more than 40 years he has served as pastor of churches in Florida and in Massachusetts. In October 2016, Dr. White joined Care For Pastors as a Pastoral Counselor/Coach. Robert currently resides with his wife, Kaye, in Leesburg, Florida.

    Pastors and Empathy Fatigue

    Wednesday, August 28, 2019

    So, what exactly is “empathy fatigue”? It’s what happens to pastors after extended periods of giving themselves to others without taking any time for personal renewal. We can’t keep giving in ministry to others without also taking time to renew our souls.

    I talk to pastors every week who are exhausted from caring for the needs of others while at the same time neglecting their own needs. These pastors are visiting the sick, counseling the troubled, comforting the those who grieve, and helping those in crisis. They are preparing to preach and teach, lead and cast vision, pour energy into discipleship, keep an eye on the budget, meet with the leadership, and set the example in personal evangelism. In many cases, they are doing all of this and neglecting to take a day off, a vacation, or a time away for spiritual renewal.

    Many pastors are living day to day with depleted energy and exhausted spiritual reserves.

    This takes a toll on the pastor physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It takes a toll on his family.  His wife sees what is happening and feels helpless to do anything about it.

    Care for Pastors exists to minister to those who minister.  I explained it to one of my friends one day by saying that “we pastor the pastors.” We are here to help pastors recover from empathy fatigue and develop skills to help them avoid the disaster of burnout.

    Our goal is to provide a safe place for pastors and their families to receive the support, encouragement, love, counsel, and resources they need.  We want to see every pastoral family thriving in ministry, remaining spiritually vibrant, and emotionally and physically healthy.

    Pastors and spouses are provided with:

    • A trusted pastoral relationship
    • Ongoing support and care
    • Resources to revitalize spiritual growth in the pastor’s family and church

    Care for Pastors provides tools and skills to help pastoral families:

    • Make better decisions about biblical priorities
    • Be more effective in time management and setting boundaries
    • Be intentional about reserving time for spouse and children
    • Find increased spiritual vitality and resilience for ministry

    One of the best decisions pastors can make for their families and for their churches is to take good care of themselves. One of the best decisions churches can make for their pastors is to ensure they get the help they need. Reach out to us at

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

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