Date of Award

5-1-1994

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Counseling and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Eugene Herrington

Abstract

The clergy in contemporary society are viewed as spiritual healers and counselors in addition to their traditional role as ministers. The clergy have varied ministerial roles depending upon their particular denomination. However, as society changes into a more materialistic, self-centered culture, new sets of values, attitudes and lifestyles are born. Contemporary clergy must provide comprehensive services to congregations whose demands and needs are constantly expanding. Black clergy today are faced with so many sophisticated problems in society (due to race, culture, economics, etc.) they must not only have a balanced spiritual life but also an educated and trained plan of action to combat these societal ills. Many ministers are not able to successfully balance personal, spiritual and societal expectations of them. Yet, when some ministers feel spiritually and physically exhausted they usually find little to no programmatic relief. Black clergy represent more than a minister to their congregations and communities. They are expected to behave only in the most divine and above human way, which needless to say, causes grave concern among clergy.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine if Black clergy were experiencing stress in their individual, ministerial and corporate church employee roles, and secondly to determine if there was a need for clerical counseling to mitigate the impact of stress on Black ministers.

This descriptive study required each participant to complete the "Stress Impact on Black Clergy Survey" (SIBCS) developed by the researcher.

Results were reported using frequency analysis, numbers and percents. The findings suggested a need for clergy holistic support through professional counseling and denominational programming.

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