9 Microstresses of a Pastor

9 Microstresses of a Pastor

The decision-making microstresses. Pastors must make countless decisions every week. One pastor told me his greatest challenge was “decision fatigue.” The decisions can range from making a small church expenditure to counseling a terminally ill patient on important decisions. Some seem insignificant. But they all add up quickly. The critical-comments microstresses. For most people, pastors included, criticisms sting. Many pastors are subject to a regular litany of criticisms. It wears on them, makes them question their own leadership, and can lead to depression.

December 15, 1967 was a major moment in American history.

I bet few of you know what happened on that day. I sure didn’t until I began studying the world of microstresses.

Let me explain.

On that fateful day in 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed, and 46 people died. The bridge connected Point Pleasant, West Virginia to Gallipolis, Ohio over the Ohio River. The collapse was attributed to microstresses, small and almost imperceptible factors that cumulatively caused the catastrophe.

A small fracture formed in a part of the bridge that was one of many components that held the bridge deck in place. The fracture, too small by itself to cause damage, was the result of a design flaw. The flaw allowed salt and water to seep in the component. The salt and water led to corrosion and cracking. Because that one component was not working, the load shifted to similar parts of the bridge. The cumulative shifting led to overload on the working parts of the bridge. That overload led to the ultimate tragedy.

So, December 15, 1967, became a pivotal day where inspection of bridges became commonplace, and where quality standards of new bridges hit a higher and safer level.

One little stress ultimately led to a total collapse.

Pastors are not alone in having stressful jobs. I don’t want to imply that their work is more difficult than other jobs. But pastors are unique in the cumulative number of microstresses in their lives. And, left alone without care, these microstresses can lead to a total collapse.

Here are nine of the most common microstresses pastors experience by the very nature of their jobs and calling.

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