3 Ways to Be Intentional to Avoid the Ministry Burn-Out
40 YEARS IS A LONG TIME to be doing ministry, of course in a society that seems to only spend 2 or 3 years on a career and move on 5 years seems like a long time. My own pastor has been at the same church for over five years, and that seems to be a stretch.
This may be because most young pastors and ministry workers feel the pressure to perform at a high level because most churches and ministries have fallen for the quantity over quality myth. So their workers and pastors are run ragged from day to night because volume and production has taken the place of good spiritual health. “We need more kids in the Youth Group,” “We need better programs,” “We need you in this ministry and this ministry” and so on and so forth, no wonder burn-out is a common problem in my generation. Neither corporate America nor the Church takes care of those working for them.
So, to avoid writing an article about new year’s resolutions here are three ways, in no particular order, to be intentional on the way to avoiding spiritual, physical and emotional burn-out in ministry.
- 1. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT GETTING AWAY
Breaks are important, vacations are important, everyone needs breaks. Breaks can be spent with friends or with family. These are daily breaks from the action, set your schedule so that you have time throughout the day and at the end of the day to recharge and spend time with the people you love and who love you.
Even Jesus took breaks from ministry, Mark 1:35-39 tells us that he “Went away to a lonely place to pray.” This is just one of many examples, yet Christ was intentional about getting time with the father and the twelve. We must have breaks in ministry, otherwise we will become ineffective and tasteless, and we know what Jesus says about that.
- BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT TIME WITH THE FATHER
Another great way to avoid burn-out in ministry is 2014 is to be intentional about your time with the Father. The word of God is the Word of Life. It is in the word of God we find the promises of God and through daily study we can be reminded of those. But we must be intentional. Like Jesus we may need to go away by ourselves to do this, to escape the hustle and bustle of the daily life. It does not matter when you do this, but daily time in the word can be extremely beneficial throughout the rest of the day. Add Coffee and a journal to that and you have what I consider one of the perfect daily getaways.
- 3. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT SAYING “NO”
One of the biggest problems that most ministry leaders have is saying “No.” We can have a thousand things thrown at us so quickly and we feel that if we say “No” we are going to be letting everyone down. However it is important to know how to say no. If you know that you are going to be stretched thin, if your ministry “Urgent” requests are going to keep you from time with family, your scheduled recharge time at night then say “NO.” You may find that people like you less, but if you explain to them the importance of spiritual disciplines and spiritual health you’ve still ministered to a need of theirs.
I’ve found that one of the tricks the enemy has built into our society is to keep us so busy that we never slow down. Yet even Jesus said no to the enemy. Slowing down and saying no will help you to be healthy and lead others from the best place possible.
There are many other ways that we can be intentional about ministry but those will have to wait. In the meantime, let 2014 be the year you break your burn-out cycles and continue to grow and lead people to a stronger relationship with God.
We should not lead if we are unhealthy, lest we only lead others astray. 2014 can be a good year if we focus on Christ and where He is leading us. Now step up, Take the Lead!
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