5 Ways to Avoid Pastoral Burnout in 2018

Ministry is hard. You've heard the stories and may even know leaders who have left their calling. Most of the damage is done not by external pressures, the conflicts, problems, or perceived failures, but by the internal responses to those pressures.

We’ve compiled here five essential strategies to making sure you’re left feeling energized and refreshed by your work, rather than beat down.

Reconsider your motives

Many in ministry burn themselves up trying to make everyone happy and trying to make every attempt at ministry successful, whether it is a new program, sermon series, counseling, or fund-raiser. Wanting to be successful does not seem wrong. What is wrong and dangerous is the pursuit of success for its own sake. The pursuit of affirmation. Or simply the desire to look better than others. Often the driving force behind this is the fear of failure or rejection from someone.

Break your day into thirds

Wherever you find yourself in ministry, creating spaces of rest in your day, week, month, and year is imperative to long-term sustainability in the church.

Get yourself a coach

Coaching is built upon the idea that in most cases, people don’t need more information about how to grow or to overcome challenges. Instead, they need specific and strategic support in applying what they already know.

Clean out your inbox

While we shouldn’t feel enslaved to desktop or smartphone notifications, responding to email is an under-appreciated aspect of pastoral ministry. Our inboxes hold messages ranging from prayer requests and sermon feedback to meeting agendas and conversations with the Buildings and Grounds Committee about which paper towel solution the church should use in the restrooms. Whatever the topic, your congregation needs to know their pastor will respond. A clear inbox increases flexibility and allows you to respond to needs as they arise.

Take a vacation

All pastors need rest and vacation. And the pastors who need them most—pastors of struggling congregations and church plants—often can afford it least. It feels like a catch-22; you need to get rest, but you can’t envision a plan in which you could actually get it.

Finances need not be added to the impediments. Here are some family-specific tips on how ministers can afford rest and vacation on a tight budget.

Want to create a culture of health and wholeness among your church leadership?

This 19-page resource offers articles, assessments, and discussion questions to help you and your leaders understand the spiritual importance of physical health, pursue it in your own lives, and lead others in honoring God with your bodies.