Shortly after retiring in July 2019, Bishop David Bryan and Bishop Thad, who oversee the ministry Call2Disciple, asked that I consider coming alongside them in the ministry of soul care. Bishop Thad, who is on the frontline, was at capacity in his ability to care for the increasing numbers of clergy who were seeking such assistance as they faced the endless demands of ordained leadership. After months of prayer, and with Archbishop Foley Beach’s enthusiastic endorsement, I have accepted Thad’s invitation to provide soul care to those pastors and priests within the Anglican Church of North America and beyond who are struggling to faithfully and fruitfully serve the Lord within the Body of Christ.
Perhaps the most sobering fact about serving the Church as an ordained minister is that many clergy abandon their call long before retirement age or they finish the race poorly. Pressures such as marital strife, family struggles, congregational expectations, and long hours addressing pastoral and administrative needs can leave a pastor weary and feeling defeated. Sadly, when that happens, the pastor often believes he has no safe person to turn to for help. Consequently, many pastors find themselves hopelessly isolated. Such aloneness renders them the prefect target for an attack by the Enemy, who specializes in neutralizing shepherds so that he can wreak havoc on the flock.
I envision the ministry of soul care to provide that “safe space” for the pastor such that he experiences the freedom to express transparently the problems he faces and receive compassionate spiritual wisdom aligned with sound biblical principles. Accordingly, as a soul care provider I function not as a mental health counselor psychoanalyzing problems or a ministry coach helping the pastor to establish objectives and reach strategic goals. Rather my role is to be a companion on the way, praying for and encouraging the pastor, while ever-redirecting his focus on Jesus—the unconditional lover of souls.
Bp. John Miller
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