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Westminster John Knox Press

Wounded Pastors - Print

Wounded Pastors - Print

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Wounded Pastors: Navigating Burnout, Finding Healing, and Discerning the Future of Your Ministry.

By Carol Howard & James Fenimore

Soft cover, 188pp
ISBN 9780664268459
Westminster John Knox Press (2024)

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Seasoned pastor Carol Howard Merritt and psychotherapist and former pastor James Fenimore join their expertise to offer validation, support, and guidance for pastors who have been hurt by the church. With wisdom that can come only from experience, they describe and define aspects of struggle and pain readers may have difficulty articulating or claiming for themselves, and they offer compassionate, informed guidance on how to find healing.

You’re not alone in your ministry. And you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Ministry is a stressful vocation, with unspoken expectations, projected anxieties, and conflicting demands. After the pandemic caused a sudden shift to online worship and factions fighting over when and how to return to in-person worship, pastors have been leaving congregational ministry at even higher rates than usual. The emotional fallout of burnout and abuse at the hands of parishioners is something pastors carry for years, whether they stay or leave the congregation.

A systems approach to conflict sheds light on the dynamics of church conflict and how clergy can tend their own well-being amid leadership challenges. The final chapter helps readers consider their overall vocational path based on what they’ve experienced and decide whether they can remain in congregational ministry or need to pursue a different line of work.

Free downloadable resources are available for pastors and church members on the publisher’s website: ! Visit to download:

  • a personal inventory for pastors that can be printed out or used as an interactive, digital journal
  • a list of seven ways that church members can support pastors, and
  • social media images that can be shared.

Also on this topic:

Moving On: Grief in Ministry Transitions by Silvia Purdie

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