Fairview’s Ministerial Health program helps church leaders stay vital

John Martinson, above, is an ordained minister and
a licensed psychologist who does counseling with
ministers and other church leaders. He is director
of Fairview’s Ministerial Health and Leadership
Resources program.
Jan. 23, 2014
Church leaders often dedicate their lives to the spiritual and mental well-being of those they serve. But what happens when they find themselves seeking guidance of their own?

They can turn to Fairview for assessment and support through Fairview’s Ministerial Health and Leadership Resources (MHLR) program.

Recognizing that parish ministry can be both highly demanding and emotionally challenging, Fairview offers a toolkit of resources including assessment, counseling, coaching and education services.

Developed in 1981 as an assessment resource for pastors in the American Lutheran Church, MHLR serves clergy and church leaders from all Christian traditions. The majority of those who use its services come from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).

A toolkit of resources
“Our role is really to support church leaders as they care for their parish,” says John Martinson, program director for Ministerial Health and Leadership Resources.

To accomplish, this Fairview offers a variety of services, including:

  • Ministerial health assessments: If a pastor or other church leader is feeling excessive stress, facing burnout, lacking energy, having difficulty focusing or otherwise struggling, the pastor may be referred to MHLR for a health assessment. These comprehensive two-day psychological and vocational assessments are designed to explore issues that may contribute to problems in both one’s ministerial and personal life.

    “Pastors leave with a better understanding of the challenges that they face, and a plan for moving forward toward a healthier future,” says Martinson.
  • Counseling: Martinson, who is a licensed psychologist in Minnesota and a fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, offers counseling for people serving in professional church leadership positions.
  • Coaching: Leadership coaching is another service provided through Fairview. Seasoned clergy who have worked with a coach and completed an education and training program are paired with pastors interested in further developing their leadership or ministerial skills.

    “Pastors can really benefit from being partnered with a skilled listener who can ask thought-provoking questions,” says Martinson. “Having someone in their corner to support, affirm and challenge their thoughts and actions can benefit their overall mental health and well-being.”
  • Educational programs: In addition to providing pastoral support, Fairview offers educational programs designed to help church leaders better serve their congregation. Common topics include how to minister to those suffering from depression or other mental health issues and living with resilience.
Helping pastors help others
“Each of our services is in place to promote the health, vitality and effectiveness of our church leaders who, in turn, serve as more competent and effective leaders to their faith communities,” says Martinson.

Fairview’s Ministerial Health program has administered more than 1,000 pastoral health assessments since it began.

For more information, visit Ministerial Health and Leadership Resources on our website or contact John Martinson, 612-706-4558.
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