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Announcing GC2 Summit 2019 - A Conversation for Pastors and Church Leaders on Leadership, Burnout, and Mental Health

October 11, 2019

The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, in partnership with the Wheaton College School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy, will be hosting a GC2 Summit on Facing Hard Truths & Challenges in Pastoral Ministry. The one-day evangelical conversation will be held Friday, December 6, 2019 at Wheaton College.

BGC in autumn 380x253Wheaton, Ill. – The stats about pastors are telling: 84 percent say they’re on call 24 hours a day, 54 percent find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming, and 48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle (Lifeway Research).

We have a crisis in church leadership on our hands, and as a leading voice in church leadership, evangelism, and mission, the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, in partnership with the Wheaton College School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy, will be hosting a GC2 Summit on Facing Hard Truths & Challenges in Pastoral Ministry. The one-day evangelical conversation will be held Friday, December 6, 2019 at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, to address issues of leadership, burnout, and mental health. Exact times to be announced.

“Too many pastors and church leaders are struggling in multiple ways, and it seems that the demands today continue to outpace the self-care and resources we have available to lead from a place of health and wholeness,” said Dr. Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center. “Many are balancing on the edge of burnout and this is not okay.”

The GC2 Summit will be a time for pastors, church leadership teams, and lay Christians to come together to:

  • hear from other pastors addressing issues of burnout, mental illness, isolation, and stress;
  • get tools for accountability, prayer, and personal discipleship; learn from top counselors addressing issues of taking care of the whole body, the dangers of mental illness and burnout, and developing boundaries to care for oneself and others well
  • engage with experts speaking on the tangibles of healthy leadership; and
  • receive prayer and personal support.

“This is a global problem, also impacting pastors and leaders inside the church. We must face it head on as the body of Christ,” said Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. “The biggest thing we can do is to remove the stigma behind mental illness and let pastors and leaders get help. We have to assure our leaders that it’s not a sin to be sick. Your chemistry is not your character, and your illness is not your identity.”

Warren and Stetzer will be joined by Dr. Derwin Gray, Founding Pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, SC; Dr. Margaret Diddams, Organizational Psychologist and Provost at Wheaton College; Dr. Phil Ryken, President of Wheaton College; Dr. Eric Brown, Director of Wheaton's Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.A. program; Ruth Haley Barton, author and Founder of The Transforming Center; and Drew Hyun, Pastor of Hope Church Midtown, as well as the Founding Pastor of Hope Church NYC. More speakers will be announced in the days to come. Topics will include issues of leadership burnout, soul care, healthy team assessment, identifying issues of mental illness, supporting senior leadership, and building a congregation of care and compassion.

The event is inspired, in part, by the recent death by suicide of Pastor Jarrid Wilson. Wilson was a mental health advocate who founded Anthem of Hope, a faith-centered organization dedicated to amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide. “Jarrid was a friend and helped so many in their darkest hours,” said Gray. “We need to have this vital conversation that Jarrid started and his wife Juli continues in his honor.”

Dr. Diddams added, “Leaders today are faced with an overabundance of tasks—from administrative to relational to strategic. If the church is to be who she is called to be, we must have healthy leaders and teams who can carry the joy and burden of so many responsibilities in such a way that allows them to not just survive, but thrive and flourish as leaders in the household of God.”

GC2: Facing Hard Truths & Challenges in Pastoral Ministry will be livestreamed as well. For more information and to register, visit GC2-Summit.com.

GC2 stands for “Great Commission/Great Commandment.” This is the fourth GC2 Summit hosted by the Billy Graham Center in as many years, the first being on the refugee crisis, the second on the problem of mass incarceration, and last year on the crisis of sexual abuse and violence in our churches.

The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College is a world hub of mission and evangelism which exists to equip leaders and lay Christians through networking, resourcing, and training to show and share the love of Jesus to a broken and hurting world.