We believe congregations and communities flourish when pastors have permission and tools to foster their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. 

Since 2007, the Clergy Health Initiative has been gathering valuable data on the mental, spiritual, and physical well-being issues specific to United Methodist clergy in North Carolina. Our mission is simple but important: we're here to support you and those who have your back, so you can do God's work with energy, creativity, and insight. Our research-based recommendations are designed to help pastors like you maximize your health, so you can thrive in your ministry and in life - because we know that when you're at your best, amazing things can happen. 

Who We Serve:
  • North Carolina and Western North Carolina UMC clergy and congregational leaders
  • Seminary students who anticipate becoming clergy
  • Denominational officials and nonprofit leaders who care for clergy
  • Academic audiences in occupational health
Ask Us About Our Research On:
  • Physical, mental, and spiritual well-being and related practices
  • Strategies that flourishing clergy use
  • Protective factors against burnout and poor mental health
  • Practices to manage stress

Evidence-Based Practices to Support Clergy Well-Being

We know how much you pour your heart and soul into caring for others. But here's the thing: when you take care of yourself, you'll be better equipped to serve and support your congregation with a whole heart. We are dedicated to offering you evidence-based practices, specially designed programs for you and your SPRC/PPRC, and uplifting stories that empower you to prevent burnout and embrace the abundance of life. Remember, you are not alone - we advocate for your well-being alongside denominational officials and fellow clergy leaders. Let's join forces to achieve wholeness together.


Resources for Clergy

Our data-informed strategies are designed just for you. Our resources aim to increase your resilience, protect against burnout, and free up energy to do God's work with a renewed sense of creativity and insight. We're here to help you thrive as you engage in God’s work with your full heart and soul.

Download Resources

Intervention Studies

We understand the unique challenges you face in your ministry, and that's why our research focuses on providing practical solutions and insights. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to prioritize your health and flourish in your calling.

Learn more about our research

Pastor Stories

Delve into inspiring, relatable stories from pastors like you who've discovered the power of nurturing their health and well-being. Armed with strategies and support from CHI, they've learned to stay grounded and connected - even when life gets intense. 

Read the Stories

Published Research

The Selah trial: A preference-based partially randomized waitlist control study of three stress management interventions  Journal of Religion & Health (2023) 

The Gap in Mental Health Service Utilization Among United Methodist Clergy with Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms (.doc) 
Journal of Religion and Health (2022) 

A prospective study of clergy spiritual well-being, depressive symptoms, and occupational distress 
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (2019). PDF version.

Attitudes and behaviors that differentiate clergy with positive mental health from those with burnout 
Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community (2019) . PDF version. 

Persistent depressive symptoms in a population with high levels of occupational stress: trajectories offer insights to both chronicity and resilience 
Journal of Psychiatric Practice (2018). PDF version. 

Using Effort-Reward Imbalance Theory to Understand High Rates of Depression and Anxiety Among Clergy 
Journal of Primary Prevention (2013) . PDF version.

The Glory of God is a Human Being Fully Alive: Predictors of Positive Versus Negative Mental Health Among Clergy. PDF version.

Clergy burnout: A comparison study with other helping professions 
Pastoral Psychology (2017). PDF version. 

Prospective associations between depressive symptoms and the metabolic syndrome: The Spirited Life study of United Methodist pastors 
Annals of Behavioral Medicine (2017). PDF version.

Social Networks, Support, and Depressive Symptoms: Gender Differences among Clergy 
Socius (2019). PDF version.

Perceived social support, received social support, and depression among clergy 
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (2018). PDF version.

The honeymoon is over: Occupational relocation and changes in mental health among United Methodist clergy 
Review of Religious Research (2017). PDF version. 

Disentangling race and socioeconomic status in health disparities research: An examination of black and white clergy 
Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (2018). PDF version. 

Overcoming the Challenges of Pastoral Work? Peer Support Groups and Psychological Distress among United Methodist Church Clergy Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review (2012). PDF version.


Featured Content


Ministering to Ministers: Clergy Health Initiative helps pastors find strength amid stress

The Rev. Shannon Marie Berry ministers to her Freemont, North Carolina, congregation with support from the Duke Clergy Health Initiative, which provides strategies for dealing with the mental and physical stressors of leading a church.

Read the article

TAKE A BREATH: An Overview of the Selah Stress Management Intervention

The Selah Stress Management Trial identified three stress reduction practices that allow pastors to fully live into the work that God is calling them to do with creativity, insight, and energy – even during the most stressful times.

Download the report

Featured Videos

Pastor Jason Villegas: taming anxiety through meditation

"When we take care of ourselves, it gives other people the license to do the same."

Pastor Carol Carkin: Listening to the body's wisdom

"Jesus had a very embodied experience and that means I shouldn’t ignore my own."

Pastor Terry Williams: finding peace through the Daily Examen

 "As clergy we are expected to tell people how to grieve, but we forget to tell ourselves how to grieve." 

Thank you to our supporters!

The Duke Clergy Health Initiative is funded by The Duke Endowment, a collaborative initiative between the Duke Divinity School and the Duke Global Health Institute, giving it a strong theological underpinning and the excellence of Duke’s research environment.