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A Pastor's Guide to Mental Health by Dr. Clay Jackson

In this episode, Ryan Franklin is joined by Dr. Clay Jackson, a general physician and pastor, as we explore the vital topic of mental health for leaders, particularly pastors. Discover practical insights on balancing the demands of ministry, work, and family while nurturing your mental well-being. Dr. Jackson shares his expertise on self-care, the importance of open dialogue in the church, and actionable steps to foster a healthier mindset. Tune in to equip yourself with the tools to lead with strength, resilience, and a renewed sense of purpose.

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So welcome come to the podcast. Thank you so much, Ryan. The key is not to do any of it well and to make sure that if you do anything well, that it's the team around you that's doing it, so come I have had, I think hall of fame friends in my life and hall of fame colleagues. And so I'm just glad I get to wear the uniform with the teams that I'm on, and they do a great job of honestly for for making up for my... Id.

I'm I'm always interested in new things and always interested in in startups. It's just kind of been my... The way that my brain's been wired from since I was a child. So now it's just made for an exciting journey of ministry and career opportunities just to to be in the healthcare space as well as the spiritual ministry space trying to trying to help folks. I do wanna...

You you mentioned to our listeners today, the the Christian leader blueprint book. And I would say, you know, if if if it's the last leadership book you buy, make it the last leadership book you buy, I know many of us have a enough H b titles on our shelf probably to to to drown a a large sized battleship, but I didn't wanna read another leadership book, but I picked up yours because of your background and our connection. And I have to say I I profit from it. It was it was edi. It was encouraging.

It was strengthening It was challenging. And so with unsolicited recommendation for Brian, Thank you. So. I do do wanna to to stamp that book has been something that was helpful for me. So if you're listen out there and holidays are coming up and you're thinking about purchases, get 1 for you and get 1 for a friend, it it will bless somebody.

Well, thank you so much for for saying that, and I'll I'll send the check in the mail when we're done. Yep. Just to kick us off, and I know you gave a little bit there, but First of all, that I get that I get everything in your bio right? I know It didn't say everything. But is there...

If there is there anything you need to clean up and Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your experience as both a physician and a pastor? Sure. I don't think you told any stories. I've I've actually had people introduced me and tell some things that we're incorrect. That's a little awkward because you don't you don't want to be un, but.

There there is a myth... I I did spend some time in England studying and I've been introduced before as a rhodes scholar, and that's actually not true. You gotta to be pretty intelligent be a rhodes scholar. I I received a rotary fellowship, which is quite a different thing. Our local rotary club gave me a check.

I I can't believe this. It was 19 93. I was a young 21 year old person was a wide open opportunity and not a lot of wisdom, but it they handed me a check for 13000 dollars and said, come back in a year and tell us what you've done. It was partially addressed to me, no accountability whatsoever. I can't it would never happened today, but that that was my that was my fellowship.

It was not a rhodes scholar. So God bless the the good businessman of Jackson Tennessee. So let's see background, I I was raised in Weston sea. Still lived there. I've lived in Memphis for the Memphis Metro area for the last 30 years.

I difficult to remember a time when I did not love the Lord and began attempting to serve church at an early age. Probably too early. We were a small church and I was willing to volunteer. So God knows what they were thinking him, but they needed all hands on deck and I just kinda tried to help out where I could. Yeah.

In college, I was a youth minister, very gracious pastor. So allow me to to learn a lot, make a lot of mistakes as a as a youth minister. Then went on to to study theology at a graduate level overseas did an name appointment there. Mh. And then came back to the stage for medical school.

And then continue to attempt to serve the church speaking, teaching, preaching that sort thing. And as a above vocational disciple and develop a private university for 3 years developed a private medical practice and then about 15 years ago gave some serious attention to end of life care. In the United States. And was a Hospice Medical director for 13 years and we started a fellowship here in palliative Medicine. Which has been folded in the University of Tennessee Health science center and we've trained probably 50 75 physicians, and palliative care as part of that process.

It's a thriving entity now. And so again, through through the years kind of our professional bent has been toward getting something from ground 0 probably up to the functional range or 80 percent range If you can think about it that way. I'm not a good iterative quality manager. I'm not great at taking things from 80 to to 98 percent efficiency and I'm certainly lost when it comes to that 98 to 99 9. You know, I make a terrible airline Ceo because planes would be followed out of the sky from time to time, but you know, if if you if you found me in the motorcycle shop with...

Or bi shop with the wright Brothers that that's kinda what I like. I enjoy thinking about what what's possible. And, you know, brief flights of fancy, more more my speed. So... And then Jan and I were married to about 6 years ago and we...

I I bought to explain a church in the town. Where I lived and then when we became a couple... That dream became a reality. We had an opportunity to do that to plan a church. And so now we just celebrated our fourth, fourth anniversary of a church plant here at Arlington, Tennessee.

And that honestly has been the most fulfilling role outside the home that that I've had and Yeah. Never felt more connected to a community into a group of people. And it's it's just a really wonderful experience and I hope that I've learned for the mentors through the years enough. I look back 10 years or so go and think go wow. It's a lot I didn't know.

And maybe I'll do that in 10 years, but I just... I feel like I wanna thank all the people that sort of helped to polish off of the rough edges that I had because certainly now in front. Frontline passing and church planning. You know, no nobody care... Nobody care what your Cv is They just they just wanna know if you'll be there when they're mom sick or if you'll be there when, you know, they they're having challenges at work or or you know, when they're trying to learn the gospel.

So so it's a wonderful opportunity. I'm so grateful for it. Tremendous. Well, we are asked to come on today because I want to talk about mental health challenges. And so to start us off just to kinda jump into the conversation, what is mental health?

And what are some common mental health challenges that leaders, especially pastors, and I and I really would like for us to kinda key in, to Pastor today. Because I think we have a unique opportunity with you being a physician and a pastor. You understand. You have empathy, you you work as secular job but you also can have empathy for the pastor out there as well. So you you've got got a unique opportunity here.

But what's some challenges that you see pastors facing today as they're struggling to juggle ministry work and family. And just sort of book define mental health force if you don't mind. I wanna split the question if I can, Ryan. So first of all, it's just let's knock off the adjective, and let's just focus on health as a noun. So Okay.

Health health is not just the absence of of illness. It is the presence of wellness. Mh as well. And those are 2 separate things that seem to be inverse proportional, but they're not always that way. So they're they're, you know, if you draw that.

Right. If you draw that. Sort of pun square, there are 2 quadrant that are intuitive, if you don't have any illness, you should have a lot of wellness. And if you do have illness, you wouldn't expect to have a lot of wellness, Well, that's true for many people, but there are 2 counterintuitive quadrant that you find in leaders. There are people who are just lang.

They don't. They neither have a lot of wellness or illness. There's not a lot wrong with them, but they're fairly just dissatisfied just septic people. And those are not we had to have grace and you have to have a cross character to be empathetic and sympathetic with those people sometimes because they're not... Those are not people write books about.

We're not we don't we don't necessarily admire those people, but they're creating image of God, and there may be ref for that. Then they're are the people that we all love and to be around and they're the resilient people. They have a lot of wellness, and they have a lot of illness. I have stage 4 cancer patients that are cooking for their family. They're taking care of their kids.

They're they're they're working. You know, I have people. I don't wanna take too much payments because I gotta work today. What do you do? Oh, I'm an accountant it with a Fortune 500 company.

This is a crazy thing. So they're in the middle of chemo staggering their chemo schedule around their work schedules. Resilient people who sort of wee wobble, you're probably too young to remember those toys. You knock it down it bounces back up, Really I do remember those toys. Resilient people tend to be like that.

And just just an aside, I think as pastors or Christian leaders of any type. We can really overestimate our resiliency. Yeah. Cause. We are hopefully, in tune with the holy spirit, which is in its resources in his resources.

We, however are human and no matter how spiritual we are, we inhabit a flesh body. And so we do not have in exhaust resources. I think that confusion is the root cause of most burnout challenges in pastor Tree and in Christian leadership? That confusion between what is our role and what is the divine role? What what are our resources What is the divine resources?

What our relationship does versus what divine relationship does. I think representing God is 1 thing, but substituting for God is quite a different thing. And honestly, as pastors we're very prone to try to substitute god... For God rather than representing God. And so is is a fine line and we really have to be spiritual to do that.

With most of us in crystal leadership don't have to be spiritual to love people. We don't have to be for most people. We don't have to be spiritual to seek information affirmation from them, we don't have to be spiritual to have empathy for them or reference because We're kinda wired that way. We've got, you know, affirmation acceptance junkie keys and we kinda... We I wanna be around people most of the time.

But but we do need to be spiritual to know that line between what's our realm with Sears. So let's back up a minute and address the second party question. What's mental health. If mental health is not only the absence illness for the principal wellness, let's explode the carte myth of mind body duality. With due respect to Renee des cart and his, you know, Cog E sum, I think therefore I am.

The body is separate for the mind. Is sort of an enlightenment type renaissance type dusting off of g, the division, the Greek division between mind and body, It's given us 500 years of tremendous technological abilities and, you know, we have these podcasts. Now because of Renee Card and the renaissance, Hallelujah, great science, not really great philosophy when it comes to what we... What really cost you to him being. The Greek conception of separation of mind and and and body is not the Hebrew conception.

The Hebrews recognize recognized sort of this 8 inch thing called the nic. That connects the head to the body. And mental health is a part of physical health, physical health is part of a mental health. There are... Strong studies that show that there's a dose response relationship between physical exercise and mental health.

That physical exercise itself is as good as a standard random randomized controlled trial proved, proven anti. Such as specific studies, ce and F fda approved product for for depression. So so just for clarification here, you're saying that you... That that essentially, you can't separate mental and physical health. It's all in...

It's all in 1 pile, basically. You can, but it leads to errors. Now we can, you know, So a rudder has a different role than a hole has a different role than a deck has a different roller than a boiler that makes the boat. But if you try to separate those on the ship, you know, they're they're all part of the ship. And so yes.

Yes. Our thoughts are separate from our movements. Our movements are separate. From commercials. Can I dig in just a little bit there, yeah?

Because I hear just for the sake of our audience. You hear things about mental health and you hear things about emotional health. Is there a difference? Sure. Our our emotions are...

So if you think about mental health you're thinking about cognition, which is thought, behavior, which is action. An affect, which is feeling. So I think I feel I act. And those are all part of no health. Let's just imagine schizophrenia.

In schizophrenia, literally divided brain, my my thoughts are disorganized, and there they are out of touch with the reality that most recognized. My behaviors may be odd. I may pace. I may have specific movements that I do, and then I may feel agitated. And those are all part of of schizophrenia, but, you know, my emotional health really works my feelings, but there's behavior and cognition part of that as well.

So easy way to remember that that's Abc b affect behavior cognition, those are the 3 cornerstone of what we think about of mental health when we're describing a a specific diagnosis or recovery there. Makes sense makes sense. So with all of that said, when and let's just again, consider the pastor, you know, that that probably is a little bit too thinks he's too resilient or he's very resilient. You know, his his middle concept of that is is much greater than it should be, who puts a lot of things on himself, wears a lot of hats, doesn't take care of himself, the way that he or she would need to, what are some early symptoms of a person that may be struggling with mental health issues. Well, I...

You know, I was challenged by question your book. You said go around to your team and say, what negative characteristics to? I I'm not para here. I'm not phrasing as well as you did. But go around to your team and your family and say, hey, what does it look like when I'm hungry or I'm tired or I'm Yeah.

You know, not at my best. You know, that's an easy way to ask about negative traits because you don't wanna just walk up some say, what's bad about me? That sounds awful. But you know, let's let's call it hanger or or hang and that kind of excuses of behavior. What do I look like the.

Yeah. I had to answer that question honestly for myself and so, you I found that, you know, in in working that as a middle exercise for me. It's sort of irr ability in being short with people and not not really listening, but kinda of been snappy and and I have a tendency to do that when I'm not at my best, or if I'm hu or if I'm trying to get to a appointment or if I'm stressed out. Well, you know, that's on a continuum with Burnout that says I'm done. Yeah.

And the with... With extreme example... Can I just butt in there just a little bit? Some of that could be just your hard wire as you know, the the way that you've been raised to react to when you're tired stressed, you get moody. When you're tired and and stressed, you get a little more passive aggressive because maybe your mother or your father did it that way.

So I think when we when we see those behaviors begin to those those thoughts feelings of behaviors begin to rise the top. That's an early indication that we're not at our best. So sort of our hard wire comes to the surface. A little bit more prominent and those negative hard wires. Absolutely.

I think that's know if we're talking about a continuum here between high performance in every of level, but then there's sort of engine light comes on, you know, or or or you hear something funny in the tires see if I could use that that motor analogy, high performance, but but there's some warning signals all the way to burnout out, which is, you know, you're on the side of the road and the engine is smoking and you're not sure what happened versus the extreme of burnout can be suicide, which is I'm done with life. I'm done with existence. And or at least in realm. And so it's important. Now I do want to separate because we're using some terms lay terms here a little loosely.

Burnout out, which you, we're talking about mental health mental wellness, wellness is is an opposite to burnout out. Wellness is opposite illness. The not same thing, depression burnout there are different things. And the key distinction is with burnout, it's localized to work and and that can be calling, Now with pastors that can get a little tricky because, you know, your life seems to be the ministry, you know? Because it's part of disciples ship.

Right. But the disciple making is part of disciples ship. But with burnout, it is, you know, it's it's not it's not global. I can have joy in other areas. I can I can enjoy other things?

I can enjoy the kids, grandkids good meal. I can enjoy sexual relationship. I can enjoy social relationships. But My work my work relationships are skewed. Because it's it's localized to work.

So the 3 core components of Burnout would be. Sort of d personalization, so you're checking out, you're not really you at work, a lack of emotional fulfillment at work, and then a sense of detachment. So those are 3 things associated with burnout. Depression, anxiety, Ptsd 6 much more global and they tend to bleed out into the other ears of life. So there's they're pervasive in their effect whereas burnout.

Really can confined towards. I love the way that you brought that out because many times the the resilient pastor, is is in a phase of burnout. You know, they're not... A lot of times they're not facing clinical depression or or... But sometimes it could ooze into that.

And so knowing the the signs and and and I think you you hit the nail on the head with burnout, it's it's gonna be isolated a lot of times. To the work environment and and for a pastor would be, you know, at the church. But for go ahead you know, I think having standardized signals in our life, you you you gotta put the Can in a coal mine. And and you gotta make sure the Can canary are there. And so for me, I I have I have...

3, primarily. Besides the urging and prop of the holy spirit. But I gotta be honest with you if I'm not at my best, if I'm not spiritually right, sometimes I don't listen to the spirit. And sometimes you know, I wanna listen to the spirit, but I a deadline. Man I'm not smart enough.

Sometimes to set aside the deadline to listen to the holy spirit saying you need Sabbath. And you're disobey obeying 1 of the top 10. So I don't care how many podcast podcasts you get done. Don't care carry many papers published on care patients you see. I don't care how many...

You know, how well crafted your sermon is, your your your dis bank sabbath. So... Yeah. Sometimes, I'm not smart if listen to that. So If I always listen to that, I wouldn't need this other stuff.

But here here are my Canary canary that I that that I put in my coal mine. The early signals that I'm having problems. Mutual submission with my wife. I'm a firm believer that mutual submission unlocks the grace of life that is mentioned a new testament that we are Heirs together the grace of life. So Mh.

If if my wife raises an eyebrow, I have to pay attention. That's very good. And and she's likely to to pick up on the the issue quicker than anyone else would. Should be if we have a right relationship Right? I mean, if we're 1 flesh she should be able to see that.

So I have to respect that, not see her as an obstacle to productivity. I need to see her as an ally of long term health and productivity. And I'll be honest with you there that. Sometimes I had to be right in the head and ride in the spirit to see it that way. Because sometimes there's an opportunity that comes up or there's a need that comes up, and, you know, I wanna dive in.

And and, you know, I'm I'm set to green I'm not set to read in my life. And I I had to be careful about that because most people in the ministry, profession calling or they get a lot of charge out of horizontal formation out of out of people, you know, being needed. You know, that kinda... It's gonna be careful about all that stuff. And that can that can take a lot of different.

Know I need to get this degree. I need to the church that needs to be this size. So I need this person to know that I was there for the. So I I... Safeguard number 1, good, open relationship with with spouse, and some ministers have that.

Some ministers answers are single, don't have that. Some ministers, you know, wall off those type of things and and don't you know, not vulnerable in that way. I think for me, that's been very helpful because I I always know that my wife is for me. And this is huge huge thing. So if she said something...

Even if it ear irritates me, she's she's right. You know, Yeah. A lot the time about this this particular issue it really have to pay attention to. So Secondly, and as Jesus said, like into the first is having a group of friends that are they're true friends. So There's a yeah general gentleman in our church.

Who's a you you know right hand solid kind of guy who who's really there. And so we talk weekly. About how things are going. You know, we we'll we'll talk about, you know, how the kids doing it. And and then we talk about the state of the church and what needs to be done that.

We get different things So my wife is there. And then outside the church, we we have a... Because we're a church plant right now, we have an external board. And so brother the Tom Trim, but the Glen Thompson, brother the Jonathan El. Those are our 3 board members.

And... So Mh. I try to talk with those guys once a week And we talk granular about how things are going. And so sort of become a a life team to you. Yeah.

That's what I... And you mentioned this. You need people that can... You and you need to be around them enough analog or digital space. Obviously, it needs to be a hybrid, but definitely need some analog unlocks like you need to eat together because it's it's the subtle things that you pick up on.

You and I think Discernment works so much better in person that than digitally. That that when you're not right, they can tell and and they can challenge you. And and say, hey, are you okay? Are you you know, getting enough rest you do? That that's sort thing.

And so having having those 2 areas is good that. Then I've got a third, but you got you get a question. Well, I was just gonna gonna say, you know, even a Zoom call. Is is 10 times better than a phone call. So a lot of my life team members are around the country in different areas.

So I can... If we jump on a Zoom call, I can see their facial expressions. I can yeah. I can I can read their body language There's a there's a difference? Now, in person is I would say is like eating a steak.

And a Zoom call is liking eating a hamburger. They're both generation. They're they're they're they're good. Yeah. They're they're good.

III think the the Zoom or or Teams for the Microsoft Junkie out there. I it gives us a non verbal. And... You know, that that that opens up about, you know, 9 times of comm of capacity. Yeah.

But I do like, I don't wanna be guilty to hear of limiting the power of the holy spirit, but it as it moves through us, I find that discernment it specifically. Discernment it specifically. Is much easier in analog space. That there's something about us as humans that being in the atmosphere kinda feeling the room. And it's a it's it's a little different...

20 years ago when all the... I would wholeheartedly agree with that by the way. However... It's kinda there are some royal pastors or people that doesn't feel comfortable being vulnerable with with someone in their church or Yeah or something of that nature and and so a good second would be a virtual means, but I but I think face to face is very important. Well, I think this 1 of reasons why tele evangelist are so successful.

Yeah. I don't... At at... And sometimes... Their life and their probably persona is so separated because I think first of all, you maybe dealing little with certain gullible sets set of people who turn to television for their for the guidance.

But you know, it's analog space, I think is much better to try to absolutely to make sure it's part of part of the recipe. But thirdly, so those are those are both people oriented relational oriented took a lot of time. A lot lot of time to develop that vulnerability and trust. Studies... But it's critical to mental health.

In in the home and outside home. Yes. Place marker at that We'll get to it in just a moment. I also use it... I also use a tool which you can use today, and you don't need the best friend for this.

So it's called it who 5W05. So WH0 dash 5 wellness scale. It was developed... By Psychiatrist department, and it's a 25 point scale for resiliency. And I take the who 5 about every 6 weeks.

And if my score if my score is below 20, I don't take on any new projects. Is there a particular website you take that on? Yeah. Google. Just just Google Google.

It's just Google. It's in a it's in a public domain. You get a Pdf and okay... 2 seconds. Gotcha you.

Gotcha. So I make my fellows take that. Ministry team colleagues take that. I take it and see my challenge is I always wanna do new things. I always wanna say, yes.

I don't like to disappoint people Don't like to say, no. I'm a conflict of order, 30 year recovering conflict orders person. So I I need the Who 5 to tell me when I'm doing too much. And that's kinda of my internal odometer. And my red zone is when I get below 20.

And so, you know, if you called and said Po doing a leadership thing on Mental health and we want you to do a 6 week series and you know, we really want you do that which, you know whatever it's a wonderful opportunity. But if my score is 18, I'm telling you no. Or I'm I'm hitting pause and saying maybe later because I've learned that below that number, I start to miss deadlines, I start to not keep commitments I start to be short with people that that matter to me. And so for me... And that number 20 is not magic.

I made it up from for me. But Yeah. It's just based on my historical average. I I'll typically run a 21 to 24 on that scale because I'm I'm typically... At least by that scale, pretty resilient.

But if I start running low, then IIII just changed things up and and I hit pause on everything. And I I ride tide on the intake valve, because because I'm getting dangerous territories for me. I think it's I think it's very important that you have something to kinda judge your cell phone, And I and I love the the the 3 components there, the combination of the 3 components, Your your spouse, your life team, so to speak, and then an actual assessment that of would be very helpful to kind of evaluate. And I think, you, it's would especially for people like me, for instance, that loves assessments. I love assessments.

So You even have 1 free on my website, by the way, a free christian self assessment. But you know, there's there's something about that that we'll just kinda put a mirror in your face and tell you, hey, you you need to park up and pay attention to this particular thing. So this this resiliency side, that's the wellness side. Let's talk about the illness side. And there's an assessment there as will.

So when we're talking about anxiety, there's an assessment called Ga 7GAD dash 7. And if we're talking about depression, there's an assessment called PHQ9PHQ dash 9, These are in the public domains. They're totally available. KQ9 and guests them were developed by Kirk K, a Colleague out of Indiana, primary care. These are incredible tools for showing on you.

They're both 2 week look backs, the who 5 is 2 week look back. So you know if you had a bad day and spilled bagel sauce on your pants or your skirt, it doesn't... It's a 2 week look back. So you get an average. And these are really great tools for helping you to to say, hey, maybe I do need some help or maybe I need it.

Talk somebody be at the Primary care physician or a counselor or somebody about... Say, I'm I'm not doing very well here. I need to need to think about these 6. So before we continue on with the podcast, this episode is brought to you by Christian leader community coaching. Are you a christian leader experiencing low productivity or chaotic lifestyle, and maybe you're overwhelmed, and just unsure of what it's gonna take to create growth in your life.

And so I wanna introduce to you our Christian leader community coaching program. Through our step by step framework, you're gonna discover a better rhythm of life. You'll see yourself more clearly, leverage your strengths, and build more productive relationships. With our full archive of courses, our supportive community of peers, a powerful leadership assessment to get you quickly focused. We also have live community coaching and so much more.

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So let's go there. You're many times there's there's a stigma associated with mental health. And and I think even society as a whole has sort of come a long ways, on the acceptance of this, even the church has coming a long ways on the acceptance of this in the last number of years. But why do you why do you think there's a stigma, especially within faith communities, church communities? Well, so again, I wanna unpack that with the middle end of physical.

So you know, you're you're probably old enough to remember a time when Preacher would need to make comments in the front of pulpit it like, I don't have anything against doctors. Because in the 1 apostolic community And within other allied people are profess Christianity such as evangelical community, the fundamentalist community, the hold in this community, some of these that are cousins if not for others in terms of our sort of thinking and background. A huge emphasis on faith healing of the supernatural. I still pray for supernatural healing every Sunday. There's a bottle of oil beside our beside pulpit it.

And we will, you know, we have prayer every sunday for the sick. And we pray through the through the weeks for sick. I don't see those as being competing For me, Mh. Those are complementary approaches as to how god heals. And so there's healing that's understood and instantaneous, we call that surgery.

There's healing that is not understood instantaneous, we call that a miracle. There's healing that is understood and gradual. We call that medicine. Or a cut on my finger that doesn't cause gang green and cause me to lose my finger. Well, that that's signal illustration the glory Grace God versus, Neo, which is an illustration of the ingenuity of man as an expression of the glory and Grace of God.

So James 1 and 17 makes us very plain for me and this is a, you know, people talk about live text or whatever. This is a revel text for me that really informs all of my work in this syria and disciples ship this area. That is every good and perfect gift comes down from the father of lights is whom there's no very to shadow being, or shadow turning. So if there's a Yeah. You know, if chemotherapy heals cancer that comes from God period.

It may move through a doctor a nurse or an ivy tubing, but healing comes from God, period, end of story full stop. Yeah. If it comes through walking down to the church and someone laying hands and and the doctor says we don't understand. Here's the report now, Here's report before. And I've seen both of those.

We have 2 humans right now in our church, 2 people that came out of my college practice out of the Battle care practice. That had advanced cancer who now cancer free. And my mother had stage 4 cancer, and it completely cleared. Now there was prayer involved and there was chemotherapy involved. So which worked.

I don't know. Yeah. I would choose to tell you that god word. So in the physical arena, there's been a stigma toward illness. I think that sort of faded away around the 19 60 19 seventies.

Typically when semi closed communities that come from conservative Christian backgrounds, have an opportunity to access health care through finance and social integration, their predisposition to avoid mainline or all sources of healing goes away or it fades. They may maintain the belief in supernatural healing league, which we have as 1 of as people. You only have a whole lot of people bash and people for taking an aspirin now. Yeah. Versus, you know, 19 30, 90 ford is issued.

Yeah. Mental health is just an extension of that argument because if it's my feelings, of course, the spiritual lift that. Then we have scripture such as, you know, we've not been given a spirit of fear. So if you have anxiety, do you have a spirit of fear? So to sort that out.

It's not that different from a kid who had epilepsy and Jesus said you've got a spirit. You know, take that kid Mark 9 to My clinic. He's gonna get diagnosed simple. Let's tell put him ke. Disciples to Jesus.

He said he's got a spirit. Both things can be true. Look at look at the text carefully. I think it's Luke who says that Jesus cast out the spirit and heal the boy. There was a spiritual issue that was taking advantage of a physical of physical weakness.

And this is what Satan does all the time. He's a predator He takes advantage of weakness. Predators don't attack strength. They they attack weakness. So this true in a physical is true.

We may have diabetes have a high low blood sugar and then our moods begin to track this and our... We think, well, I I'm a failure because I have an exercise enough for or I have bad jeans at didn't you my parents, right. Satan loves to to to attack us through weaknesses that we have whether it's genetic, whether the social, whether it's personality. This same as middle Health, same in Mental Health. And I think the church is doing better when I survey Christian leaders what I find within the apostolic.

Community What I find is people say on this on this continuum of stigma versus privilege. See the part of world now, we've got we've got theologian such as beauty Jessica C I love Jessica. She's she's riding from a Catholic background. We've interacted. I have no no stones to throw her, but I I strongly disagree with their stance, which is we can't we can't say anything of meaning to the person who's suffering, we have to privilege their voice and we listen to them.

They don't we don't have anything to offer them. We we may construct theology that they can choose from. But we can't get them any guidance as to anything regarding meeting in their experience because we're not experiencing suffering as they are. Yeah. I think that's taken it too far.

So... Stigma versus privilege. Every time I survey, 1 leaders, they say we're moving away from Stigma toward privilege. But I say we can only move too far because you... Jessica in her book, dust in the blood pretty much argues that pretty much argues that we need to to privilege the voices suffering over the voice of the gospel.

And that's my phrase not hers. I can't go there. The text is the text, Hope is hope. It needs to be applied skill league, you know, the word is a scalpel. And a fool with a scalpel who cause you to bleed to death.

So just because your performance surgery doesn't mean you're authorized or skill, you know, you be a butcher in a hack and call yourself a minister. Job's friends proved that. They have bad theology. Their problem wasn't they talk. The problems what they said when they talked.

God didn't criticize him for speaking to Joe. He criticized him for what they said. So Yeah. I think I think we're moving away from Stigma, But I think we need to... We don't need to take it all the way to privilege where, okay, you've suffered something.

Therefore, you tell us what to do. I think it needs to be... I I like to think about the road of reconciliation, the road of restoration, the road of healing, And to me that road has 2 lanes, and there's a there's a... There's Paul in Saint corinthians 5, which, you know, I think is the hinge of the new testament. 05:17 through 21.

We've been changed. So now we get to see others change through our work. And Paul says we have the word. Of reconciliation, and we have the ministry reconciliation. So I think there's the work of reconciliation or healing And I think there's the word.

And we love the word. We love to speak with authority. You're gonna be healed. I speak against depression. I speak against anxiety.

I take authority... And so we speak with authority. So we're we're not we're not Jessica who's publishing the voice suffering. We're their experience, but we're publishing the voice of the gospel. So we speak with authority, Hallelujah.

But we have to work with humility And that... This is the combination Ryan that we have to have to be... Successful in the post modern world. We have to have the humility of the work where we could sit with people, like Joe's friends for this first 7 days, But then when we open our mouth, we can't be a scribes and ph. We've got to speak with Jesus, We've got to speak with authority.

So speaking with authority is the is the word of reconciliation. Sitting with humility is the work of reconciliation, and there are precious few people that are equipped to do both, if we can master that lesson from our teacher it have a tremendous opportunity because it is a... I mean, this world has never been more broken. People have never had more fractured relationships. People...

You know, we we've 80 and 9... Percent in of our young generation or experience mental health challenges. It doesn't mean they all have a dsm in 5 diagnosis or psychiatric diagnosis. Mh. It doesn't mean many of them have challenges and We've got tremendous opportunity to administer healing, but we...

To speak with authority and we have to work with humility. And we have to hold those 2 counterintuitive methodologies or approaches in creative tension. So that I love price be through us. Yeah. Excuse me there.

But I... Just to say I I love the balanced. Approach there, and thank you for for that thorough answer. I've got a couple things, and I know we've we've got wrap up here in just a moment, but Got a couple of things of additional questions I wanna dive into from a more practical standpoint. And I know you've kinda hit on this question a little bit, but Clay, the the pastors like yourself, they often play multiple roles in their communities.

You know, if they're not bi vocational, which you are your physician. But even if they're not by vocational, a lot of times they, like, for instance, myself, I serve on a board in my city. Others may a chaplain or or manager of business or or you know, whatever. But all of this can become a lot to juggle. You know, you...

You're bi vocational. You serve on several boards. I'm sure you have you you have various irons in the fire. You have your own podcast, which I want you to tell us about here in a little bit, But how can we as pastors maintain a consistent... Healthy balance between our ministry, community involvement, personal life, self care, all of that, because we don't we don't wanna swing too far and and not engage in the mission of Christ, but at the same time, we can't find ourselves in a bad place.

So what does balance look like in that and and what would you recommend to pastor? I'm gonna quote Aaron settle on this 1 and And para for... Aaron says it balances is elusive, but fairness is attainable. So if I'm gonna... If I'm gonna try to be balanced, I'm gonna fail.

I took both my boys to school this morning. And I'm doing this podcast for. So, you know, there's calls from work that are stacking up. So I'm not... Yeah.

I'm not balanced right now. Now I will be before the week is out or before the months is out. So over time you can get balance, but it's elusive. Now And you're trying a great point because your your work is is always gonna out balance just about everything else in your life. That's that's just It's you're not gonna find balance.

Yeah. It's just but there's a rhythm in that as well. There's a rhythm and you and Eugene Wilson do a good job appointing us toward rhythm of life and getting I have times that That I devote to usually on this day, I'm going to be doing this thing. Usually on this day, I'll be doing this thing. So usually, at this time, I'm gonna have time to work.

And it's clear to they... But usually, at this time, you know, thing Man, if you... From about 06:30 to 09:30, if it's a church need it better be urgent Yeah. On on a usual week night because you know, my daughter goes to bed about 07:30, my kids go to bed about 08:30. And if I don't fall asleep, then my wife and I gonna start our conversation, around 9 or 09:30.

You know, we're gonna have our time together. You know, so there's there's kind of... We each together as a family, then 1 goes down, then 2 goes down and then 2 stay up and talk. You know, I don't interrupt that rhythm for much. Yeah.

This gonna to be pretty important. Now there are times, there was a there was a there was a person this week. That had an episode and and I said, I'm available tonight, and I didn't call home I didn't in text with my wife to ask her because the knee was great enough that I knew that her response would be, you meet that need. It it was it was an urgent situation. Yeah.

So their exceptions. But you sort of... You you've probably had conversations about that and sorta of have some guidelines in your in your within your marriage. For that. So some of those conversations are retroactive, Ryan.

Yeah. Yeah. Where... Yeah. You know, you learn sometimes for when that thing on the Ro goes border, you move back towards center lane.

So yeah Sabbath. Okay. Yeah. We are not we are not Jehovah junior. Oswald Chambers, my most for his highest is 1 of the greatest christian leadership books ever written.

Devotion that people wrote down in the james... My oswald chambers my most very highest is 1 of the... Yes. 1 of the greatest leadership books ever written. And it's just the emotions that that his students wrote down.

And he says in there, you can't get between people in God. You are not Jehovah g. And so again, we wanna represent God not substitute for him. And that is so tempting because we wanna be like. We wanna...

We wanna not just represent the king, but we want people to look on us as having the power of the king and the favor of king. And So we're constantly if we're not careful if we're not spiritual, we begin to shift where people are dependent on us. He's a great guy. He's a great pastor. She's a great leader.

Rather than pointing to Christ. And part of pointing to Crisis, I can't meet your need right now. The first thing, Adam the first thing Adam sees is God resting. Mh. And so his...

The first thing he learns from God is to rest. The Jewish week begins with rest. It doesn't end with rest. The Sabbath is not something you do on Saturday at the end of work. It's the beginning of the week.

To to to begin with rest. And so that principle sabbath the lack of observation of Sabbath is not efficient. See in productivity. That's not what drives it. What drives the sin of ignoring sabbath is idol tree.

It is the belief that I'm enough. And whoever came up with that meme you are enough needs to have the new testament duct taped to their... Well, to their cal... To their calendar. All be kind.

Okay? For their crazy Easier. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

So it's it's it it's critically important You know, I this is 1 of those terms where I'm I'm pointing you, but the figures are pointed directly back at me. We have to we have to recognize that we're not enough. Human need is. Divine provision is, and we're right in the middle of that. But our challenge is we have to stay in the flow of his provision.

We have to understand that we will never be a That's good. Never never read enough books you preaching sermon. You never make enough hospital calls, you never do enough counseling sessions. We have to tap people into the source. Yeah.

And then there's just there's this beautiful cartoon illustration, and it was it was meant to to to represent father. So there's an older figure who's standing up with a hat and a younger figure who's who's reaching out. And the the the older figure has... A square in his hand. And the younger figure is taking this square out of the hand.

But then you see at the backside of the figure, there's all these chunks of legos that are missing from that figure. Where father who about giving of yourself to just to the sun. Or to the daughter. And so that was the illustration of father. I used that illustration and that pic graham to illustrate what ministry is whether it's physical spiritual.

We're giving pieces of ourselves out to people. Wow. You gotta have the pieces put back by God. Right? You gotta renew in the holy spirit.

Pray in the Holy spirit. My wife and I are very intentional about finding. Formats where we can worship where we're not leading. Yeah. This this is...

I'm not recommend this for everyone, but just formats from my life, I don't do medical missions. All of my international missions work is involved. And I I don't I wouldn't... Say that's forever, but I've just found that I need environments where I'm not the alpha, and I'm not the leader. I don't make suggestions in charts.

I give orders. My life is built around. You know, if I'm 45 minutes late, you think that that I'm entitled to that. It's just people give a lot of cultural respect to physicians. And so when I'm on...

When I'm in a a different environment, I wanna be in a place where I'm I'm in a following position or supporting position, or if I'm teaching that at least people are very overt giving the place to Christ as the leader So III do a lot of physical ministry here, but I don't do medical missions work, and that's just for my life. Because I need those times of Sa to be in a different position in a different seat. So it's just 1 example of consistently reminding ourselves that that that I I think if the only worship serves as you attend or once where you're expected to lead or to serve these that can be an unhealthy way. Need environments where you can be replenish from restored. You know.

So there plenty of places like conferences where you can do that. But I you know, I would say to the to the to the pastors who are pastor it, what we would by any metric, say successful in thriving churches, be good to go in worship at another church that's that's maybe smaller already. And just and just worship and and experience God, in a corporate setting without being in an alpha position or alpha chair that people in expectation. Obviously, there are no alpha betas in Christ. But people we consistently sort people according to their leadership structures and and whether they're betas all of that, sir.

I think, very good for us to to to recognize with people with others that we we're not the source. We're just a conduit of god's blessing at at best. Yeah. So A person finds themselves in a terrible place. Now I'm not talking to a suicide place or anything like that.

I'm talking severe burnout. It's a Monday morning. They just had a reject... They preached their guts out on Sunday. They had a rejection on Sunday afternoon and they're just in a in a terrible place on Monday morning.

And what would you recommend? For that person that's in in that bad place. And I'm not just talking about. Maybe this is a this is a lead up to that. It's not just the Sunday, but it's it's...

They've they've been in sort of a, you know, a fun, so to speak and and and Sunday just threw them over the edge. Pray, take a nap and eat. First and foremost. Yes. Yeah.

So, you know, The the angel says to elijah sleep and eat. Yeah. Right after they got through speaking in tongues and baptized 3000 people in acts, the 8. At they and they have fellowship shipped. So, you know, reach out to the lord reach out to some trusted friends.

This is is from a book. Dave... Scoop... Daniel Henderson. Mh.

It's called the it's called the glorious finish and this is the best sc for avoiding ministerial failure that I've ever seen, and it starts with worship. The reasons it's right here, is it's at my desk. And once a week, twice when I come in into the office, I try to start with worship. Before even before I open up the computer or the the phone or start texting the absentee or whatever, I try to start with the worship because you know, there's 2 pathways here There's neglect. So worship leads to humility, Neglect worship leads to self reliance.

And humility leads to authenticity, self reliance to professionalism. Authenticity leads to accountability, professionalism leads to entitlement. Compartment commercialization, dissatisfaction, and desirable discharge. Accountability at least to integrity, joyful hope and glory is finished. Daniel is baptist pastor.

He followed 2 spectacular forced resignation of mega church Pastors who had to give up their ministry because of a publicly identifiable and consistent in your life that undermine public confidence. And Daniel had cleaned up the mess twice And in prayer for reflection of those experiences as Daniel came up with this sc for keeping us honest and it starts it starts with worship. My Lord is Apostolic. We ought to own that. That ought to be our Bailey Wick.

We ought to... That ought be easy for us. Yeah. But I don't... I don't start my days to the office with Worship, not the way I need to, not before Daniel told me to.

So thank God for Daniel and thank God for his witness. And it's it's transformed how I try to start my day. Yeah. And I need to do that at the office at at at the practice. Don't get it at the practice yet.

So I need to I need to do that. The books called the glorious is finished by Daniel Henderson. Don't buy 1. Just don't buy 1. Don't buy 1.

By 10 because you will... You'll pass it out, it's it's it's phenomenal. It's phenomenal. I'll definitely pick that 1 up. So...

There it is. That's what your lori flush. Boris finish. Alright. Alright.

Well, when We should do a volume 2. We should do a volume 2. Too much to talk about. We're we're coming to a close here, but just out of curiosity from your perspective as a physician. When should leaders specially pastors consider seeking professional help, for their mental health, their emotional health.

And and how can they overcome the challenge to actually do that? When somebody you trust in that? Life circle that you talk about tells you that you need to, when your spouse does. That's good. That's good.

When you're when your kids do... Yeah. When you, you know, if you're taking these screener and you got weird scores, talk to somebody about it. Yeah. Everybody needs an annual Health checkup up.

Take 1 of these before you go in for Annual health checkup up, talk to your doctor and nurse Sp about at your Pa. Hey how how do you think I'm doing. So and then you know, just just get over yourself, you know, just get over yourself because you know, the idea that that you're too holy to need maintenance is like saying, well, I'm a Lamborghini, I don't need oil change. Yeah. Well, that's gonna work for about 8000 miles and you're gonna have an awesome trip.

And you're gonna save a lot of money. You really are because you... You'll save at least 300 dollars by by avoiding an oil change on lam lamborghini, which could cost yourself 300000. So a lack of maintenance in a very sophisticated leader is absolutely doable in the short term, but it's absolutely catastrophic in the long term and what a loss. So the greater you are, the greater loss is.

So for those that think that they're above maintenance. So And and sometimes that's me, you know, sometimes I'm like, no. I... I'm always interested, you know, I'll come back. I'll come back.

Yeah. Just let's afford so sort. Think the so for listeners. Yeah. Let's let's avoid that listeners to hear that from a physician.

Church planner you know, who has a lot of things that are that are good going for you. You've got a lot of credentials. You've got, you know, but yet there's times where you may would need somebody. And it's super important that you're willing to to do that. So Always end with a question of what's 1 thing that you wish that you could tell your younger self.

What's 1 thing you wish you could tell your younger self? Gonna have to be related to this topic, by the way. Yeah. So don't be as arrogant. Be be more humble.

Yeah. Be kind of people because you won't always have a chance to be in their space. Some of them will die on you. And some of them move off and you won't have a chance to say Sorry. You won't have a chance to say I was an absolute donkey.

So watch yourself. Be ci spec. I would say don't sweat it so much. The will of God is overrated for individual choice. Yeah.

Gideon had a very pagan approach to the little Gods. So, you know, god's is pretty creative. Most of the things that worked out my life, were not the way I thought it was gonna work out. Paul tried to go 3 different directions before we went to Macedonia. So if an a apostle of God was 25 percent.

We're not gonna get it right most of the time, but God will get it right all the time. Yeah. He's very creative in his will, and he has many ways to bring us to an expected jeremiah 29 11. I would say be less dependent and seeking and desires. Of affection and affirmation from others and be more desirable and affection affirmation from the board.

Because horizontal affirmations to trap It's it's god given, but every idol is a god giving gift elevated to the wrong place. And that's that's been a challenge for me. I've had to be spiritual cadet in the right place and when I'm not, I put it in the wrong place again. Yeah. And so it too many things, I guess, but just I guess, 1 more thing is it when people declare themselves to you believe them.

Optimism is good. But romantic doesn't have a reward. Believing the best about people is good in ministry initial context you need it, But if you believe it in in the ministry context, this reward for that. Now, Jesus said you're gonna strike out 75 percent of the time. You sow seed only 1 out of 4 is good soil.

But you get a 30, 60 to hundred full return. So believing the best about people and and seeing them in God's preferred future for them, if there's an enormous spirituality about that, it works because God backs it. If it's just you dreaming up and not, you know, if people show you that they're gonna be and hateful, or or something. I I confuse those 2 sometimes because, again, I was trying to step in and seek that affirmation and and infection and trying to to wanna be liked by everybody, and I was too conflict avoid it. I shouldn't be as confident for it and as it was.

I missed some opportunities in life for having an earlier wisdom. And so I pray that the lord will help me because I don't wanna continue to make those mistakes. I wanna I wanna see things through his eyes and not through my Very good. Very good. Well, doctor Jackson, this has been a a tremendous conversation, and I I just wanna thank you so much for giving us your time today.

It's been a an honor to have you on. And we're definitely gonna have to have a part 2 at some point in the knowledge... Absolutely welcome. I would love that. Would love that.

Thank you for the for the opportunity today to speak with your your broad collection listeners and and supporters. And so God speaking in your ministry at all that you're doing with, appreciate fair much. So let me ask you this if people wanna connect with you in some way where can they find you online and tell us a little bit about the podcast that that you do as well? So my doc Jackson, Y d, Jackson on x, formerly known as Twitter. And then the podcast is just start Church Sermon.

This has an intro and out. That is Arlington, United. You'll find it wherever you find your podcast, Arlington, United. Welcome anybody to listen to that they like. Okay.

Well, I'll definitely put those links in the show notes. And so that that concludes our show today. And if you're a new listener, be sure to... Subscribe wherever you listen to audio podcast or on Youtube. And also, it would just make my day if you take a minute to rate the show and write a review on Apple podcast or wherever you listen.

Copyright © 2024 Ryan Franklin. All rights reserved.


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