Part 3: When Stress Leads To Burnout In Pastors And Church Leaders – 10 Tips To Deal With Burnout

Continued from: Part 2: When Stress Leads To Burnout In Pastors And Church Leaders – Signs Of Burnout

We know that stress, anxiety, depression and burnout pervade those in ministry. But we also know that we have a God who cares for His people — and that certainly includes those who are sacrificing so much for the cause of the Gospel.

The good news is that burnout doesn’t mean that one is permanently disqualified from ministry. There are steps that pastors and their families can take to make things better and to rekindle the fire for Kingdom work. Pray that God would show you, your loved one or your pastor the right steps to take to recover from burnout and any other conditions that have developed as a result of it.

Let us help you with these 10 tips to deal with burnout!

10 Tips To Deal With Burnout

Here are some tips for those in ministry on how to deal with stress burnout:

10 Tips To Deal With Burnout-www.ChristianDrugRehab.com1. Don’t quit yet. Many times the inclination is to simply get out of ministry in order to put a stop to the problems. However, this may not actually get at the root causes of the stress and burnout, which means you may take the very same issues, habits and tendencies into your next career. Before putting in your resignation, experiment with steps that deal directly with the issues you are now experiencing.

2. Recall your calling. You — and perhaps your spouse as well — once believed that God called you specifically to the ministry in which you now serve. Think back on this calling. Often difficult circumstances can lead us to question our calling and vocation, but God has never promised an easy life to those who minister for the Gospel. Try to remember why you felt this position was the one God had for you. What has changed?

3. Assess your stress. Stress can come from a hundred different places. In order to get through burnout, it’s important to get at the cause of the problem. Where is the stress coming from? Is there anything that can be done to reduce it? What intentional steps can you take today?

4. Decrease hours. If an unbearable schedule is threatening your sanity, the health of your family or the effectiveness of your ministry, then it’s time to look at decreasing your hours. Ask yourself why your schedule is as jam-packed as it is. Are these really the requirements of the job, or are you creating unreal expectations? Are there issues of pride or fear of man?

5. Decrease projects. In our culture, we tend to equate busyness with importance and effectiveness. However, too many projects and ministry initiatives may mean we’re spreading ourselves and our resources too thin. We must acknowledge that we, and our churches, can’t be everything to everyone. Are there a few things that could be tabled for the time being?

6. Delegate. Is it possible to take a few things off your plate and slide them onto someone else’s? Again, pride and micromanaging tendencies can often lead us into thinking we’re the only one who does anything right, so we have to do everything. Hire competent staff, train people well and then let them join in the work of ministry by delegating non-essential tasks.

7. Rest. God created us as needy human beings who require rest and even relaxation and leisure. This isn’t lazy, it’s acknowledging your humanity. Lack of sleep quickly contributes to stress, anxiety, depression and irritation, not to mention a host of physical consequences. Sleep deprivation also means we’re less sharp, no matter how productive we think we are. Commit to getting the proper amount of sleep each night. People in such demanding, highly-relational positions need lots of rest — perhaps more than the average person, but certainly not less.

8. Take Sabbath. God created humans to work six days and rest one. While pastors usually can’t make Sunday their day of rest, another day can and should be designated for concentrated rest. The work of ministry will wait. God mandates it and He will honor your obedience.

9. Request a sabbatical. From time to time, a longer, more focused break from ministry will be healthy and even necessary. If you haven’t had a sabbatical in a long time (or ever), talk with your church’s board of elders (or other leaders) about scheduling a sabbatical. This can be valuable, healing time for you and your family. And in the end you may be able to bring more to the ministry than if you had never taken the break.

10. Talk openly with other church leaders. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching leaders or coworkers at your church about the struggles you’re facing, then try to connect with leaders in other churches or in online forums. You need a space where you can safely and openly talk about the very real challenges of ministry with those who understand what you’re going through. Pastors often feel isolated and set apart from others, and this, coupled with the pressure they feel to present an image of spiritual perfection, means the problems and desperation only multiply beneath the surface. Find people who can identify, and start talking.

By Jacki Christopher

See: Part 4: When Stress Leads To Burnout In Pastors And Church Leaders – Ways To Deal With Stress In The Ministry