“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
Dave Wiedis in “Ten Rules to Avoid Ministry Burnout” writes, “When burnout runs its course, pastors often report that they have no initiative or drive, little energy, don’t want to visit with people, and just want to be left alone. Other symptoms include depression, anxiety, irritability, and disillusionment with people, loss of confidence, a feeling of being mistreated, and feelings of detachment. Of course, with the intense and unrelenting demands of ministry, there is a spiral effect: Burnout causes inefficiency, inefficiency creates increasing demands, demands create pressure and concomitant guilt for not achieving desired goals, added pressure and guilt causes stress, stress causes a depletion of energy and drive, which in turns causes inefficiency.”
Here’s his ten rules:
- Take heed to yourself.
- Cultivate dependence on God. Your ministry and calling come from Him. Maintain your personal disciplines.
- Lower your expectations. Learn to say, “No.” Delegate.
- Learn to balance your life and pace yourself.
- Create time to get away for refreshing. Factor solitude, recreation, and refreshment into work. Put them on your calendar. When asked for a meeting at that time honestly say, “I have an appointment.” That’s exercising good stewardship.
- Cultivate interests that are not directly related to your work as a minister.
- Develop a sense of humor.
- Cultivate proper diet, exercise, and sleep patterns.
- Seek close fellowship with pastors and others with whom you can share your burdens and concerns. Oftentimes, it takes a pastor to help a minster. Yet, we often to see ourselves in competition with one another rather than on the same team. Remember, the ministerial body is not designed to compete with one another but to complete one another.
- Get help if needed. Meet with a biblical counselor to get insight on your life.
Satan is fully aware that “if you smite the shepherd, the sheep will be scattered” (Zechariah 13:7).
Avoid ministry fizzle today!
Excellent article. Fighting spiritual battles and unspiritual people can be very taxing on body and spirit. Jesus felt no compunctions about separating himself to some quiet place to rest and pray. Why do we feel that we must be busy 20 hours of every day? Only if we’re after the praise of men. You can never do enough if you’re trying to please people because they are never pleased anyway. We are accountable to the Lord and not to men. Ministers need to keep a good balance in their lives, not only making time for the Kingdom, for for their own little kingdom, their family. May God bless our ministers!