Based on several nationally based studies involving vocational care-givers, it can be concluded that the trained care-givers can realize his/her full potential and experience vitality when the following factors occur:

1. There is a willingness to enter an accountability partnership where he/she is free to explore the more difficult issues of personal/professional life: A person cannot be forced into growth producing accountability. However, Training, Coaching & Counseling through programs such as Vitality Care can create a safe and inviting context to establish a pattern of accountability.

2. A willingness to investment in one’s own personal and team vitality: This is a very intimate and personal endeavor. The path to finding a balance for effective care-giving and increased personal vitality varies among vocational care-givers and their spouses. Establishing the proper patterns for the given chapter of life is an important part of effective care-giving.

3. A willingness to pursue a right balance between the demands of marriage, family and care-giving: Enjoyment of a care-giver’s marriage and family is key to long-term effectiveness in community service. The care-giver and his/her spouse who have discovered healthy ways to find balance are often more effective in their service to their community. A ‘coach’ may be helpful in bringing a fresh perspective.

4. An awareness of vulnerable areas in his/her life: The care-giver and spouse who experience vitality and longevity of community service are more aware of their areas of their context of vulnerability, as well as the context of vitality.




Current State of the Vocational Care-giving Professional:

The following illustrate the major challenges facing vocational care-giving today

• 80% believe care-giving affected their families negatively
• 33% said being in care-giving was an outright hazard to their families
• 90% believe they were inadequately trained to cope with the demands of care-giving
• 70% say they have a lower self-esteem now than when they started out
• 37% confessed having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior

. Marriage problems vocational care-givers face:

• 81% Insufficient time together
• 64% Communication difficulties
• 53% Difficulty in raising children
• 46% Sexual problems
• 41% Care-giver’s anger directed towards spouse
(Blackman & Hart, Care-giving Assessment and Career Development)
• 75% of care-givers report experiencing periods of major distress
• 33% have seriously considered leaving the care-giving vocation
(Malony & Hurt, The Psychology of Clergy)

Career stressors of pastors:

• 94% of ministry professionals feel pressured to have the ‘ideal family’.
• The average ministry professional works 54 hours a week with only 6.8 hours of sleep. From a publication of Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colorado)
• 33% of all U.S. churches have, at some time in their past, had a pastor leave in a ‘forced exit’.
• 62% of ousted pastors were forced out by a church that had already forced out one or more pastors in the past.
• 10% of all U.S. churches, having forced out three or more pastors, are considered to be repeat offenders, and will most likely force out the next pastor as well.
• 25% of all pastors in the U.S. have experienced a forced exit at some point in their ministry.
• The driving force behind a pastor’s forced exit is most often (48%) by a very small faction within the congregation, which is comprised of only 3-4% of the people.
• 69% of forced out pastors attempted to resolve the conflict with the dissenting faction, only to find it to be ineffectual and impossible.
• Approximately 1,500 pastors a month are leaving their pulpits for many reasons
including: forced exits, low pay, burnout and infidelity. (a study by D. Redman, Wesleyan Covenant, Oklahoma City)
• Only 1 out of six who go to seminary (beyond college) are still in church ministry by retirement age. (research by Alban Institute on which Lilly Endowment based the decision to fund sabbaticals)