"Burn-out"---Real or "Cop-out"?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Spinach, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Spinach

    Spinach
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    I was reading an article in a Fundamental publication the other day that called missionaries with "burn-out", "cop-outs".

    I have very definite opinions on this but wanted to post it here for differing viewpoints.

    What are your thoughts on ministry "burn-out"?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    Elijah and Jonah suffered from burn out. When you put all your emotion, time and energy into the ministry leaving nothing on the field it can happen. Pastors can become isolated sometimes and not get any rejuvenation.
     
  3. Johnv

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    Agreed. In any profession, ministry, activity, or calling, one is inevitably going to get to a point of burn-out if that activity is continually engaged it. There's no way to avoid it. The way to deal with it is to recognize it, take a break from that activity, and refresh oneself before getting back into it. Even the Israelites got a day in seven to rest.

    Calling it a cop-out is an insult to hardworking folks to give of themselves so tirelessly.
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    Absolutely. I've seen real burn-out and real results of it.

    The mantra of "just work harder, just work harder" and/or "you're just not committed enough" fail and have caused damage beyond what we can see. Burn out is real and it is destructive. Minimizing it and the people going through it is terrible.
     
  5. Mexdeaf

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    There's some "funny-mentalists" out there and this article sounds like it was written by one.
     
  6. Jim1999

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    Burnout happens generally amongst the new pastors. Overtime one learns balance, and begins to understand why we take Mondays off and get away from the church and church work totally.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    Some times it is not about balance or wisdom but there are times when pastors go through spiritual battles in the church and the battles are long and significant. This results in a burnout or weariness.
     
  8. Aaron

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    The folks I've known who've gotten burned out were usually the inexperienced and who set unrealistic goals and had unrealistic expectations.

    Jonah's burn-out was from a self-centered desire to see Ninevah destroyed, and though Elijah was persued, persecuted, alone, and at one time that's recorded dejected, I don't think I would describe him as burned out. Anyone in the ministry worth his salt will know what Elijah felt, and what the title "man of sorrows" means.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

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    Possible but probably over "diagnosed." Most people are more likely to rust out than burn out. We have a modern expectation of time and life that has drastically lowered the bar. Read Paul's story in Acts and the Epistles and you will see that we can endure a lot more than we do.

    Technology means that people do more but get less done. We have more stress on our lives than any generation in history and yet are less productive in many ways. Many causes of "burn out" are self-inflicted, like not turning the computer or cell phone off.

    So while there may be real issues of burn out, we need to be careful that we are not endorsing a modern mentality that has nothing in common with the NT pattern of ministry.
     
  10. gb93433

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    I think you are right. Too many in the church expect the pastor to be available 24/7 when he should be seeking God in prayer and study so he can feed the congregation and take care of them.

    To get rest is one reason why many in industry turn off their cell phones and pagers after work.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    I can definitely agree here. Too many in our society have an entitlement complex (especially people of my generation.) We've been given so much we haven't really worked hard.

    It compares to football...in a way. You don't just take a fresh kid out who has never played a down and drop him into an NFL huddle. The first hit he's dead (or seriously injured.) The guys at the NFL who last are ones who have had bodies conditioned through years of tough hits and constant beating.

    In my time (and I'm not being prideful here...really) I've seen guys who have lasted months in ministry and guys who will last a lifetime. One of the factors, one of them not all, is that the guys who last have had to work at it. Life is rough, tough and full contact. You can't get coddled and handheld through life and expect to be able to compete at the NFL without ever taking a hit. Sooner or later you've got to own it and dig in.

    Agreed. I have a life coach that I've worked with for about two years now. He's great. One major recommendation that has changed a lot has been my relationship with tech. I love technology. Love it. But I only check my email a couple of times a day. I got rid of my church email from my phone. I still check internet stuff from my phone (but mostly when sitting in airports) but have limited my reading to quality stuff. Technology can be a great enabler for achievement but also for distraction.

    I still suggest that burn out is real and needs to be addressed. We can do more, imho, in one day of focused ministry than many in the NT times could do in a month...but ministry still comes down to people. It still takes intentional time to move people spiritually and allowed them to hear the Holy Spirit's movement in their lives. That takes time, but its absolutely worth it! :)
     
  12. Spinach

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    In our case, burnout comes from morning to night mission work 5 days a week (10 churches). On the days off, home things need to be addressed. This is a time to pay bills, do the grocery shopping, take the van to the mechanic (which is ALL.THE.TIME.), do repairs on the house, etc. Days off are not really days off.

    Plus, in each of the ten churches, EVERYONE has problems. No money, electricity has been shut off, sick family member, no work (this is a big one), no food, kids are getting in trouble with the law, and on and on.

    There is so much more than that, but that gives you a general overview. And then to have your very real feelings minimized in such a way is hard to take. Of course this publication usually ends up in the woodstove (and I'm IFB), so I really should stop reading it altogether.
     
  13. sag38

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    The "idiot" who wrote that article has no clue, no empathy, is probably on the edge of or in the midst burn out. Don't listen to idiots.
     
  14. Servent

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    Not sure but I think most everyone who posted here is a pastor, what about those who are not pastors, Myself I head our van ministry, street ministry, teach Sunday school and Awanas. 50 people in a church maybe 5 do all the work.
     
  15. Servent

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    Another question, If burn out in ministry is a cop out, what about in the work place. same or not.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    Until we know which article, who wrote it, and what they said, we don't know this. Sometimes, people are right even when we don't like it. A "lack of empathy" is actually telling the truth. Again, I don't know because there is not enough information given here, but we should stop short of saying things like you said until we know more.

    Same, and for a worse cause too.
     
  17. JDale

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    I am not surprised this was in a "Fundamental" publication. To people that take that view, I say that they have lived a charmed life, or they have never pastored a church. A lot of Fundies lead churches that have been cowed and subservient to pastoral dictators for decades. That's not the "real world" in most of todays churches -- Baptist or otherwise.
     
  18. Pastor Larry

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    Don't you think it would be wise to know who wrote the article and what it actually says? Would you be surprised if this article was written by someone who had spent thirty years on the mission field? Who has lived it firsthand?

    I can't believe the number of people willing to pass judgment without knowledge. You sound like a fundamentalist.
     
  19. abcgrad94

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    Spinach, I wouldn't put a lot of stock in anyone's opinion about burnout unless they have actually experienced it for themself AND you know enough about them to actually respect what they have to say. Saying burnout isn't real is like a man telling a post partum mother that her condition isn't real, or that PMS is all in a woman's head, simply because he hasn't experienced it.

    Personally, I have experienced burnout (am going through it right now actually) and it's not a fun place to be. If I read something to the contrary at this point it would only add insult to injury.

    My advice is, find some reading material that uplifts and encourages your spirit, not something that condemns and criticizes if you don't conform to their cookie-cutter perfectionistic opinion. YOU are the one who knows your relationship with God and YOU have the intelligence to see warning signs that something may be unhealthy. It doesn't matter what anyone else wants you to do or think, GOD will show you a solution as you read his word and trust him.
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    Sometimes, some really crazy stuff gets said. This is one of those times. My bet is that abcgrad would not say this about someone who agreed that burn-out was real. It is only said about someone who disagrees. So what abcgrad means is "Don't put a lot of stock in anyone's opinion about burnout unless they agree with me on the issue."

    Furthermore, it is not necessary to experience something to know something about it. That too is a nonsensical argument.
     

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