Discipleship & Lifespan Education


Researchers and church administrators have a long-term interest in the stresses experienced by clergy and how these stressors relate to the ability of the clergy to minister effectively. Many of these stressors occur in pastors’ families of origin prior to ministry. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are forms of trauma that have long-term negative effects on one’s physical, mental/emotional, spiritual/relational, and behavioral health. This article describes research on the effects of ACEs and reports the preliminary results of the first three years of a longitudinal study of ACEs on Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) seminary students. It makes recommendations designed to positively affect the state of pastoral ministry in the SDA Church. Trauma-informed pastors discover how to overcome the negative effects of trauma on themselves, which enables them to create trauma-informed congregations.


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