What do you get when you convene eight cohorts of healthy pastors and listen to how they describe what has led to their fruitfulness in ministry? Drs. Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie got thousands of pages of transcripts to analyze. They had gathered those pastors as part of a Lilly Endowment-funded research study on pastoral thriving. Instead of exploring what causes pastors to burn out and flame out of ministry, they investigated what causes them to survive, even thrive in ministry. Bob Burns joined us in a virtual event on Oct. 12, 2020, to discuss what they learned through their research.

Burns, Chapman and Guthrie found that resilient ministers attend to their own spiritual formation, practice self-care, demonstrate both emotional and cultural intelligence, have healthy and supportive marriage and family relationships and can handle the leadership and management issues that arise in the context of their work. They wrote about these findings in their book “Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving.” Everyone who attended the virtual event will receive a complimentary copy.

Burns walked us through each theme, defining it and offering examples from the research as well as from his nearly five decades in ministry. He also spoke about the book “The Politics of Ministry: Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests,” in which he, Chapman and Guthrie go in-depth on the fifth theme—what they term the “poetry and plumbing” of leadership. This book will be given to anyone who attends the next virtual event on Oct. 26, 2020.

To learn more about what Burns and his team discovered through their research, watch the video recording of the event.