Christian Reformed Church pastors who are active in parish ministry still have time to participate in a study that will help track their well-being in 11 areas (including burnout, spiritual well-being, and satisfaction with life).

Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., the research project titled “Flourishing in Ministry -- Well-Being at Work” is being offered by the CRC in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame and will give pastors information about how to grow and thrive in their work.

“Flourishing in Ministry” examines what motivates pastors to be engaged in ministry—and what disrupts them from experiencing well-being in their work,” said Lis Van Harten, director of the CRC’s Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program.

The research aims to explore how clergy—often working with lean resources— “can give so much to others” and yet also “experience a sense of fulfillment and growth in their daily work lives,” says an online description of the project.

Taking the free “Well-Being at Work” survey helps pastors assess their own goals, values, and well-being to help them keep focused on fulfilling their calling to the fullest potential, said Van Harten.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for pastors in parish ministry to get a report on their well-being -- at no cost to them. Not only will participation benefit each pastor, but it'll also help the CRC as it seeks to care for its pastors," she said.

"Twenty-five minutes is all it takes to complete the survey and instantly receive a personal well-being report -- time well spent focusing on self-care," Van Harten added.

Pastors who are active in parish ministry should have received an email and a "referral code" in the past week or so from Notre Dame. If you are a pastor and haven’t received this email inviting you to take the survey, contact Laura at Notre Dame.

If you want to learn more about the study, visit http://wellbeing.nd.edu/flourishing-in-ministry/.

The study and its results will be helpful for gaining an overall sense of what can help pastors thrive in their work. For instance, research that has already come out of the study shows that “even five minutes a day spent engaging in a meditative or contemplative method can have significant benefits.”

A detailed report will be provided on the basis of at least 400 CRC pastors’ survey results. While individual results are both confidential and helpful to the participating pastor, the collective results and summary report will be helpful to all CRC pastors, clergy in other denominations, and the ongoing clergy well-being research.

“Work is being done on creating a similar survey for pastors’ spouses. We hope to be able to launch that at the next Pastors’ Spouses’ Conference in September 2018,” said Van Harten. “We’ll be better able to care for our pastors and our pastors’ spouses.”