burning out

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by STEPcoach, May 31, 2012.

  1. STEPcoach

    STEPcoach
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    I am 12 years into full time ministry and I am struggling greatly with feelings of failure, fear, and hopelessness. I still trust my Lord ... but (I hate to even write that) I have been barely scraping by financially for so long that we have debts piling up. I feel like I am running in circles, just going through the motions. I have a ministry to stepfamilies and we have seen wonderful successes - hundreds of families saved and lives changed, but I feel like a personal failure because I cannot support my wife by serving God. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm looking for a sympathetic - maybe empathetic shoulder to lean on.
    In Christ,
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Brother, is your ministry under the auspices of a church, or are you operating independently? If part of a church outreach, then your pastor needs to know what's going on.

    Are you able to take a second job, even if it means devoting less time to the ministry?

    Others may disagree with me on this, but your first loyalty is to God, then to your wife, and then to your ministry. Your wife's well-being is your first priority.

    I sense that you feel a strong calling to this ministry, and it would be hard to give less time to it. This is understandable, but as a wise man once said, "life is what happens when you have something else planned."
     
    #2 Tom Butler, May 31, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2012
  3. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94
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    Sounds like your well is running dry. You can only give of your overflow, otherwise it starts to affect your own personal supply. Is there a way you can take a week or two off just to spend time with your family and pray and get refreshed yourself? Sometimes in ministry, we get so focused on GIVING to others because the need is so great, that we forget to take care of ourselves and our own needs--or worse yet, we feel guilty for even admitting that we have needs, too.

    What does your wife say? Ask her how she feels about all of this.
     
  4. DiamondLady

    DiamondLady
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    You need to remember that you must have the energy and strength to minister to others and I believe God requires us to take care of ourselves so that we MAY minister unto others. I agree with ABC...take some time off, go away if you can. if not shut off the phones. Make time each day to have time for yourself to recharge your batteries. (I shut the phone off every afternoon for two hours and have down time.) Every week take a family day and spend it with your wife...go on a date, or take a day trip. Sometimes we simply get in the car and take a drive down a road we've never tried before.

    You need to get your finances in check. This is probably one of your biggest problems in burn out. I don't know the details of your ministry, but if you're being paid by the church I'd tell the pastor what's going on and discuss it. If you're doing private counseling are you charging enough? Perhaps a second job? Is your wife working or is she a stay-at-home mom? There's so many variables that it's difficult to address in a forum like this. However, I know from personal past experience, that a shaky financial situation is so hard on ministry.

    I pray you can find the time to get some rest, recharge those batteries, and continue in your ministry.
     
  5. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    Even in ministry, we must learn to balance our lives. I took every Monday off and went to a golf course. I didn't golf. I just walked the 18 holes, turning my mind to other things.

    In a few pastorates, the congregations were so small, I had to work away. Again, balance is important. Set priorities and stick to them. At one church I worked as an architect. It paid five times what I would ever earn in ministry, but also afforded me decent time to minister.

    My first church paid me five pound a month and supplied a house and bicycle. I managed. When I came to Canada, the seminary had student pastorates for every student. They didn't pay much, but enough to cover school expenses, and the work was great.

    There is always a way to manage. We got suits, shoes, ties from the local funeral home. The churches provided us with transportation. One church gave me a motorized bicycle,,you peddle fast to get it going and eventually reached 20 mph wide open. We make do with what we have and don't expect to keep up with all societies demands.

    I think that is the key to ministry. We don't try to match the world. We go with what the Lord provides. Keep your mind in balance at all times, and the rest will fall in line.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. STEPcoach

    STEPcoach
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    Thank you!

    God bless you all for answering. I honestly didn't expect anyone to respond. I've been under a heavy weight of depression for the last two months - just going through the motions, not sleeping at night, and napping every day. Feeling like a failure at everything. My ministry is suffering, of course, but I keep up our meetings and continue to answer calls for help.

    I don't work for a church, but for a private non-profit ministry, one I started in 1996 and incorporated as a NP in 2001. I've been full time since then. Money has "never been an issue." By that, I mean we never have been materialistic at all. Old, small, comfortable house, paid for. Old cars, paid for. My wife and I partnered in creating this ministry - her income pays the monthly bills, and I get a bit from private mediation (I'm a certified family mediator as well as a licensed minister). But bills are piling up.

    I work alone. I guess that's part of the problem. I have only my own company for encouragement and ideas. ALL my gifts are in teaching and counseling. NONE in administration; therefore, my attempts at building boards of directors have been pretty sad - just like-minded, sympathetic folk who wish me well then drift away.

    I've stopped seeing the future. I can't envision the next step. I'm ashamed and a mess.

    Thank you for listening, God bless you all.
     
  7. STEPcoach

    STEPcoach
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    Better now!

    After a month of prayer, reflection, and good solid counseling by some worthy brother ministers, I am doing much better. I thank my God for the fellowship and encouragement I received here and elsewhere, from my family in Christ for the uplifting and partnering I was given. I am back in the race and rebuilding my strength daily. Thank you all for your assistance in the yoke!
     

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