Top accomplishments from 2014:
Our goals for 2015:
The MTM Foundation equips ministers through education to manage and thrive even in church conflict. MTM also reclaims wounded ministers through Healthy Transitions Wellness Retreats for Ministers and Spouses to continue to respond to God’s call into Christian ministry.
Many of those to whom MTM ministers in the midst of crisis are enabled to resolve situations and either stay in their ministry position or make a healthier transition to their next ministry position. Wounded and burned-out ministers are renewed for greater effectiveness, joy in ministry, and resilience when the going gets tough. A pastor stated: “The wellness retreat has been perhaps the most humanly authentic and spiritually powerful experience of my entire life. It was a life-saving, life-affirming, life-enhancing experience that has helped beyond words.”
The Ministering to Ministers Foundation was created in 1994 by a few ministers who had experienced forced termination along with concerned laypersons who were aware of the effects of these forced terminations on their own faith life and congregational effectiveness. The epidemic of forced terminations affects all size churches, all denominations, and all parts of the theological spectrum. It diminishes the quality and availability of excellent leadership as well as the health of congregations and the communities in which they are located.
Over 1,600 Protestant ministers in the US are forced out of their church ministry position each month – over 19,000 per year. When conflict surfaces, frequently values are thrown out and a mob mentality develops. Some types of church government can alter the process but the end result is the same – the minister is forced out. A recent study by Texas Tech and Virginia Tech Universities show that 28 percent of ministers experience forced termination at least once during their career. It also reveals that 35 percent of forced terminations occur in seven percent of the churches.
As of January 1 2015, MTM has conducted 123 wellness retreats in eleven states with 1218 participants coming from 37 states plus Canada and the Bahamas and representing 39 denominational affiliations.
For every person who participates in a wellness retreat, nine other ministers will benefit from some other aspect of the MTM ministry.
The success of the MTM ministry is at least in part due to the multitude of professionals who have volunteered their time and expertise.
The MTM Foundation advocates for ministers who are experiencing conflict that often leads to termination and who often suffer in isolation and silence. We try to help level the playing field.
MTM seeks to offer C.A.R.E. (Communication, Advocacy, Reclamation, and Equipping) for ministers/spouses, so that they may grow as they encounter the severe pressures from within churches and from cultural trends. Churches are facing a shortage of healthy leaders due to the impact of forced terminations leading to shorter tenures, higher drop out, and fewer young people going into ministry.
The centerpiece of MTM is the Healthy Transitions Wellness Retreat for Ministers and Spouses. The intense five-day retreat combines three ingredients: small group dynamics, information sessions led by experts in various fields, and group therapy led by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
In addition to the wellness retreats, MTM seeks to provide Christian fellowship to ministers and their families during crises and the healing process that follows through the “Friends for the Journey” Network. The “Friends” are drawn from Wellness Retreat alumni who have healed from their termination experience, along with persons who have worked with ministers during their conflict/termination pilgrimage. Because the “Friend” has walked through a similar valley proves there is life after conflict/termination.
MTM has developed other networks to expand resources beyond those which MTM itself can provide. One consists of certified counselors to whom ministers can be referred when the damage necessitates closer attention to the health of the minister and his or her family. Another network is comprised of attorneys who can offer advice on strategy when ministers are treated unjustly, help them protect their livelihoods and families by coaching them as they negotiate a fair closure agreement, and increase the civility with which ministers and congregations bring their relationship to a closure.
Though some nonprofit organizations and denominations provide limited help for ministers for prevention or recovery from burnout, or provide short term personal or marriage counseling, none focus on being advocates for ministers during church conflict.
Only 54 percent of ministers who experience forced termination go back into a church related ministry position. Over two-thirds of the MTM retreat participants accept another ministry position. We believe that healthy ministers help produce healthy churches, healthy churches help produce healthy communities, and healthy communities help produce healthy societies.
The Ministering to Ministers Foundation (MTM)
Ministers and the congregations they serve often endure unfortunate, painful and even destructive seasons in a relationship meant to be healthy, fruitful, and lasting. Through awareness building, training, and counsel, the Ministering to Ministers Foundation (MTM) attempts to help all the stakeholders not only weather these circumstances, but approach them wisely, compassionately and redemptively.
Ministers are not covered by unemployment insurance if their employer terminates them. The courts are leery of potential conflicts between church and state and therefore do not enter these matters. While some denominations may be exceptions, there is no real safety net for ministers. Church polity may, in fact, work against speedy transitions for ministers from one church to the next employment opportunity. Therefore, MTM gives a great deal of focus on the special needs and circumstances of ministers and their families.
Our consultation ministries are effective in helping ministers and their families make the best of bad situations. Workshops, personal counseling, vocational guidance, professional legal assistance and other resources are brought to bear for ministers and those they love. However, Healthy Transitions Wellness Retreats for Ministers and Spouses have proven especially effective in helping ministers recover from the corrosive effects of conflict, renew their strengths, and return to productive work. More than 1200 ministers and their spouses have benefited from one of our five day retreats held in various parts of the United States and over 10,000 ministers/spouses have benefited from some other aspect of the MTM ministry.
MTM has a stellar reputation and frequently receives calls for help. However, current research suggests that in their professional lifetime, nearly 30 percent of ministers will experience a forced termination or such a toxic environment that they believe their only recourse is to resign. Therefore the need is greater than that which can be currently met. Furthermore, MTM has more calls for help and more demands for retreats than can be currently funded or staffed. Finally, the heavy demands on the service side of the ledger leave little time for any of us to focus on fund raising.
Why I volunteer
Most of us have endured some unhappy transition in our lives, experiences that easily prompt us to care for those supported by MTM. But I am also the beneficiary of the work of MTM and an alumnus of a Wellness Retreat as well. Therefore, I personally commend their work to you and urge you to join me in their support.
Jim Johnson, Chair, MTM Board of Trustees
The centerpiece of the MTM ministry is the Healthy Transitions Wellness Retreat for Ministers and Spouses. The intense five-day retreat combines three ingredients: small group dynamics, information sessions led by experts in various fields, and group therapy led by a psychiatrist or psychologist. As of December 1, 2016, MTM has held 133 wellness retreats with 1,295 participants. They have come from 38 states plus Canada and the Bahamas and represent 40 denominations and faith groups. Yet for every minister/spouse who participates in a Wellness Retreat, nine others will benefit from some other aspect of the MTM ministry. 45.5% of the retreat cost is covered by in-kind gifts of service by clinicians and retreat leaders, and co-sponsorships.
Charles Chandler, D.Min., former pastor in Kentucky, Illinois and Virginia, and founder of MTM, along with Beverley Buston, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who has years of experience working with congregations and ministers, bring their experience and expertise to help ministers through a one-day workshop. They point to prevention as the best approach for slowing the spiraling problem of church-minister relations tragedies.
Session 1 – We Have a Problem
The Magnitude and Consequences of Church Conflict and Forced Termination
Learn to Read the Early Signs of Church Conflict
Session 2 – You Can Help
How Emotional Intelligence Supports Having an Effective Ministry
Learn to Enhance Your Listening Skills
Session 3 – Take Care of Yourself First
Six Relationships Every Minister Should Develop
Give Attention to Spousal and Family Relationships
The Value of Developing a Life Outside the Church
The workshop includes the results of healthy and unhealthy ministry research as well as practical approaches to ministry that involve healthy support systems, common sense boundaries, honing skills, focusing on becoming a healthier person.
With increasing anxiety in all churches for all sorts of reasons, it is very likely we will see more forced terminations as we move forward into the future. For over 20 years, Ministering to Ministers, under the leadership of Dr. Chandler, has been an invaluable resource for wounded ministers who find themselves in a crisis situation.
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Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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