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Spiritually healthy pastors are good for the Church.[1] This seems commonsensical, yet many pastors in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) do not engage in the healthful habits and relationships necessary to grow and sustain their spiritual wellbeing. Pressures from without and within often result in neglecting the very habits and companions promoting their spiritual flourishing.

To encourage the spiritual wellbeing of CRC pastors, this project provides an online spiritual vitality toolkit. This resource includes: Assessments for strengthening self-awareness, a chart for discerning spiritual companions, Christian practices making room for God, guidance for gathering with peers, resources for pastor retreats, tips for creating a rule of life, and a bibliography for deeper exploration. As a result of using the toolkit, clergy will cultivate the lifelong practices and holy friendships necessary for growing in communion and cooperation with God.[2] With growing commitment to their own spiritual lives, pastors will “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

Part one of the project introduces the ministry challenge of healthy spirituality for CRC clergy. It explores three significant ministry contexts in which these pastors live and work and how these affect their spiritual health. Part two provides theological reflection on the spiritual life and its connection to the pastoral vocation. Based on Scripture, Reformed writings, and contemporary sources, it argues the indispensable role of spiritual companions and practices for clergy spiritual health. Part three explains the ministry initiative rising from this reflection and describes its goals, timeline, along with the people and resources needed to carry it out well. Finally, this section assesses the effectiveness of the toolkit.

[1] This truism is implied in Peter Scazzero’s book The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship that Actually Changes Lives, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 20.

[2] According to Gregory Jones and Kevin Armstrong in their book Resurrecting Excellence: Shaping Faithful Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006), lifelong practices and holy friendships are fundamental for the well-being of ministry leaders.

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Harbert, Laura

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Pastors, Clergy, Spiritual vitality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual life, Christian Reformed Church (CRC), Reformed Church, Toolkit


Practical Theology


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