Any dynamic, goal-oriented, aspiring idealist is a potential casualty.

Are you busier than ever in Christian service, but accomplishing little and enjoying it less?

Do you feel depleted and fatigued instead of energetic, beset with physical ailments that won’t go away?

Are you increasingly irritable, disillusioned with people, often difficult to deal with, feeling more and more detached even from close Christian friends?

Has the joy of the Lord given way to melancholy and a malaise you somehow can’t explain?

If some of these questions fit you or someone you know, burnout may be imminent or already in progress.

Remember Fred? Sure, everyone remembers good old Fred! But where has he been lately? For 12 years he and his family faithfully attended church every time the doors were open. He served several terms on the board, including a year as chairman. He taught an adult Sunday school class, served as youth sponsor, participated in church calling programs, and sang in the choir. His wife also was actively involved in the church, and everything appeared to be going well. But when Fred’s last term on the board was up, he and his family abruptly stopped attending church. Calls and visits from pastor and people were rebuffed. Today Fred and his family do not attend church anywhere. They spend weekends backpacking in the mountains, boating on the lake, or just lounging with the Sunday paper.

Fred’s case, a classic example of spiritual burnout, is by no means isolated. Increasing numbers of believers in churches across the country are having similar experiences. Nor is the condition limited to laymen. A growing number of pastors, missionaries, and other full-time Christian workers are leaving their places of service, victims of burnout. ...

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