AVOIDING MINISTRY BURNOUT

Living a life of vocational ministry isn’t easy. Having said that I love it and can’t imagine any other life. I am blessed to be in a very healthy church environment that has my best interests and family in mind but that is not always the case. I have seen many classmates, peers, and friends who get thrown around and mistreated by expectations put on them by others or themselves and let the demands and pressure dictate their ministry. I thought I would write a list today of things that pastors have to keep in mind as they live a ministry life as husbands, fathers, providers, leaders, and shepherds.
Some of these will sound like no brainers, but they aren’t for everyone.
1. Always take a day off-Yeah ministry is a weird flex schedule and it can change (especially in student ministry), but even if it means that you give up your full Sabbath, take Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon so you can stay balanced and have some time off and with your family.
2. Date your wife weekly-For those with wives there is nothing more important. We are pretty big about this one in our house. With a young baby date night has been a struggle but the expectation is still there. Sometimes it is better than others but as he gets older and we are freed up more and more date night will win out.
3. Put your family first-There are different ways to show this but here is how it is real in my life. I like my phone….a lot! Friday as I took my day off after a long, busy week, I wasn’t going to answer it unless the caller ID said “Jesus”. That meant that I got 1 voicemails, but it also meant that family and not my job was the priority in that moment.
4. Absolutely do not let anyone attack your wife or family-Like I said I am in a great environment, but that is not the case for everyone. I am not saying to attack those who attack you, but I will say that if you don’t protect your wife and family who will. If they are not in the wrong but still getting attacked you must as a husband, father, and leader of those attacking confront in love as Matthew 18 teaches.
5. Create a culture and ministry that is not dependent on you-Yeah we all wear 5 hats, from worship leader, to greeter, to head of chair setup, and lawn maintenance. The trick is that we create the culture and if we support a culture that puts all the emphasis on the pastor to be the man and do all the up front, professional Christian stuff, than you will burn yourself out and train your people to sit back and watch you and complain when you don’t meet their expectations. You are leading right when you are equipping people, replacing yourself, and can step away for healthy breaks.

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