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How can lay people help prevent burnout in pastors and staff?

Joe N. McKeever is director of missions with the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans

I once served a church that had written in their personnel policies that Saturdays were to be off-days for the ministerial staff. The church building would be locked and the offices closed. Only in unusual situations were any of us expected to put in an appearance on Saturdays.

Later, I served a church where one of its policies required ministers to receive three weeks of vacation each year, two of which absolutely had to be used for vacation. They could not be devoted to meetings or conferences in other churches, time-honored methods most of us have used to extend our ministries and supplement our pay.

These were wise policies, no doubt inserted into the personnel handbooks by veteran church members who had learned how crucial it is that ministers get their rest. As with everyone's favorite Psalm—the 23rd—sometimes we have to be made to "lie down in green pastures."

As I write this, it's been nearly 19 months since Hurricane Katrina did so much damage to my part of the world. ...

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