This dimension focuses on creating and maintaining healthy, supportive relationships with family, friends and peers. Research has demonstrated that having a social support network protects against several health problems. A support network is essential to wellness in ministry, but can be difficult to initiate and sustain. Many clergy feel socially isolated and have difficulty building relationships in their congregation and with other clergy (within and outside of the denomination).
The Church Systems Task Force research discovered more than 30% of clergy surveyed do not have friends and support beyond colleagues and parishioners. Making time for positive experiences with friends and family can build emotional reserves and strengthen social connections in times of need. Strong social support is also helpful in addressing challenges in the other health dimensions.
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