What Urban Leaders Need in the Midst of Stress and Burnout

Kara Powell | Nov 20, 2012

Regardless of your ministry or family situation, odds are good that you experience stress. Because of our commitment to urban leaders, a number of years ago we investigated the stress and burnout levels of urban leaders. You can read more about our findings but here are some highlights:

Past trauma affects us today

Over 22% of the urban youth workers indicated that they had experienced four or more of these Adverse Childhood Experiences. Unfortunately, that level of childhood trauma has been shown to increase the risk for psychological and physical health problems later in life. Adults with four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences are more likely than those who do not report any adverse experiences to be obese, experience depression, attempt suicide, use drugs, have more than fifty sexual partners, and experience a stroke or heart disease.

Urban leaders experience a unique (and high level) of stress

The urban youth workers who filled out our survey indicated that 36% of them are feeling symptoms of “posttraumatic stress”. We can compare that to the general public where studies show that 12% of the population will experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in their lifetime. This means that there are a significant number of urban youth workers who are serving while simultaneously managing a considerable level of internal pain.

What urban leaders need given in the midst of their stress

In the midst of these challenging experiences—both past and present—urban leaders need training and support. That’s why we are so glad to invite urban leaders to apply for our Urban Youth Ministry Certificate. The next cohort starts in early 2013 and applications are due November 30. We offer a significant scholarship to every student thanks to the generous support of friends of FYI who want to see urban youth leaders get the training they need.

Want to hear firsthand from a leader about what this training has meant to them? Check out this 90 second video to hear how this unique training (the vast majority of which you can do from home) has given one of our leaders the network and support that he needs.

Why the Urban Youth Ministry Certificate? Part II: Paul Craft from Fuller Youth Institute on Vimeo. Questions? Please contact Irene in our office this week (icho@fuller.edu, 626 584 5550) so you can get started on the application today!

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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