Being a pastor is bad for your health. Pastors have little time for exercise. They often eat meals in the car or at potluck dinners not known for their fresh green salads. The demands on their time are unpredictable and never ending, and their days involve an enormous amount of emotional investment and energy. Family time is intruded upon. When a pastor announces a vacation, the congregation frowns. Pastors tend to move too frequently to maintain relationships with doctors who might hold them accountable for their health. The profession discourages them from making close friends. All of this translates, studies show, into clergy having higher than normal rates of obesity, arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and stress.
But research also says that pastors' lives are rich in spiritual vitality and meaning. Pastors say that they have a profound calling and are willing to sacrifice to fulfill it.
The schedule of church work is clearly an impediment to clergy health. In every survey and conversation, the variable schedule and the demands of the vocation emerge as critical issues. Pastors do not have a nine-to-five workday; one day might look considerably different from the next—and eating is a major part of doing one's job. Robin Swift, health programs director for CHI, said, “Clergy will say, 'I would love to go on a diet, but I have three breakfast meetings this week alone.'"
The entire post, "Fit for Ministry: Addressing the Crisis in Clergy Health," can be read here.