Burnout

Are our pulpits full of preachers who want to quit but haven't yet?

"Even if we haven’t seen a dramatic increase in pastoral attrition, many people believe it’s still coming.... If the bubble does burst later this year or next, all eyes are on three demographics: pastors early in their careers, those nearing retirement, and bivocational ministers." - C.Today

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Is Self-Care Selfish? Stewarding Your Personal Life for Long-Term Ministry (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

A Biblically-Based Perspective of Self-Care

Does self-care have any place in a pastor’s life? Viewed solely from a worldly perspective, it’s questionable. But through a biblical lens, self-care resembles the biblical concept of stewardship.

Viewed biblically, self-care is stewardship of our personal resources and priorities. It is managing the resources God has entrusted to us for eternal benefit. Several Bible texts containing either instructions or examples come to mind.

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 teaches us to invest the resources entrusted to us for the benefit of the Master.

According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit … you are not your own. For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Our physical bodies are a means of glorifying God. We should treat them accordingly.

Peter exhorts,

As each one has received a gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10)

Each of us is to use our gifts not only in a way that benefits others, but as good stewards of what God has graciously entrusted to us.

Jethro guided Moses to radically alter his leadership style or he would burn out and hurt the people he was supposed to be helping (Exodus 18:13-23).

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Is Self-Care Selfish? Stewarding Your Personal Life for Long-Term Ministry (Part 1)

Self-care sounds like man-centered psychobabble. It feels inherently selfish, contradicting biblical concepts such as self-denial and self-sacrifice. Why would a ministry-minded Christian pay special attention to himself or herself?

Let’s learn what self-care is, then see if any part aligns with Scripture. Perhaps it belongs on the trash pile of worldly philosophies. Or possibly common grace has made mankind instinctively conscious of a healthy practice.

Understanding Self-Care

A helpful definition of self-care is “the self-initiated behaviour that people choose to incorporate to promote good health and general well-being.”1 Simply stated, self-care is taking responsibility for your personal health and well-being.Areas usually in focus are physical well-being – diet, exercise, and sleep; mental/psychological well-being, especially how one deals with stress; and relational well-being – harmony and satisfaction with family, friends, and others. As Christians, we add one more, spiritual well-being – communion with God and spiritual formation.

The Need for Something Like Self-Care

Two questions arise when relating self-care to people in ministry, particularly pastors. Does pastoral life increase the need for self-care? And is self-care a legitimate pursuit for a Christian in ministry?

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Research: Habits of Pastors Who Endure in Ministry; How You can Help

"The following 12 practices were identified by comparing current pastors with former pastors who had left the pastorate before retirement age. We analyzed which questions most strongly predict whether a pastor continues to serve as a senior pastor." - Lifeway

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What Happened to Rest in the Church?

"In the church, more is always more. More event participation equals more holiness. In church leadership, more events equals more impact. These are y = x, straight up diagonal graphs with no blips, no cap, no ceiling. There’s never an event planned called: 'Stay home and be with your family and friends night.' ... The church assumes you’re doing that. Except we’re not doing that." - Ref21

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Why Some Leaders Burn Out—and 4 Ways to Prevent It

"For himself, Greear says, idolatry has been a driving factor in times of ministry burnout. 'That’s because idolatry always puts something out there that you have to obtain ... And so there’s always somebody … some success to match. The church has got to be this size. I’ve got to be invited to do this. I’ve got to have this many followers.” - Facts & Trends

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Serving Students Stay - Part 2: Let the Simple Be Profound

From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission. Read Part 1.

I have a concern about one concept that is affecting all of the various ministries in the church, but I want to specifically focus on youth ministry and how this concept is affecting and changing it. My area of concern is what I am going to call intellectualism.

I define intellectualism as the process in which growth can only be realized and achieved by utilizing fresh, newly discovered information in contrast to the simple and profound. It is the concept that you must always teach something new rather than something simple (that is, the Bible). Though the exploration of new truth, and exposing ourselves to ideas that we previously did not know, is a good practice and a needed part of spiritual growth, intellectualism creates an adverse climate in youth ministries and churches across our nation. Intellectualism looks down upon the simple, yet profound, teaching of the Word of God in favor of teaching new ideas with fresh methods.

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Roads That Lead to Christian Burnout, Part 4

Wrong Road #4—The Road to Nowhere

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

by Debi Pryde

The fourth path to burnout is one that is more difficult to identify. Most people believe they are on the right road until they’ve traveled quite a distance. Everything looks great until they round the bend and finds themselves in the middle of nowhere. That’s when the road gets bumpy, the weather turns nasty, the terrain abruptly turns from beautiful to ugly, pryde_roadtonowhere.jpgand they can hardly see where they’re going because of all the fog. It’s easy to stop and hope the weather improves—but it doesn’t. And stopping only leaves them in that mess longer. More difficult, there are all kinds of detours and splits in the road, and it’s sometimes quite challenging deciding which way to go.

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