Jesus sent the 72 disciples out before they were fully prepared. They didn’t even realize that salvation mattered more than signs and wonders (Luke 10:20). But he sent them anyway. Then assessed their results.
Discipleship was central to Jesus’ mission. It should be central to ours.
3. Stop Obsessing Over Growth – Or Lack of Growth
I’ve read hundreds of articles on pastoral burnout. They list many valid factors, including financial pressure, motivation by guilt, not taking a Sabbath, and more.
But there’s almost always one factor missing. And it may be the biggest reason of all: We’re obsessed with building bigger churches. And that obsession is burning many good pastors out.
Wanting the church to grow is appropriate. Especially if it’s driven by leading people to Christ. But obsessing over rising numbers – and the dark side of depression that happens when the numbers don’t materialize – is creating a lot of burnt out pastors and unhealthy churches.
We hear the success stories about churches that grew seemingly overnight. And it’s good to celebrate that. But we seldom hear the shadow side of pastors burning out and leaving ministry – or burning out, but staying on as a shell of their former selves – when they can’t reach the unrealistic expectations of constant numerical growth.
As hard as pastoring is, let’s be grateful to God for a healthy church, without adding the burden of continual numerical growth as a completely unnecessary brick to our load.
4. Listen to Our Own (and Jesus’) Advice
How many sermons have we preached on “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30), only to walk out of church with the weight of the world on our own shoulders?
How many times have we taught our church about the value of Sabbath while working 24/7, ourselves?
How many times have we told people to put their family ahead of their work, but have put off our own family for church work?
How often have we encouraged others about the value of daily devotions while going all week without opening our own Bible – only to scramble through it on a Saturday night looking for sermon material?
How many more pastors have to burn themselves out like this before we realize…
It doesn’t have to be this hard.