Pastoral Burnout

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Dr. Bob, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    From the "Quitting the Ministry" I thought this deserved a thread of its own:

    Pastor - have you suffered "burn out" in the ministry? Share as much/little as you prefer about causes, circumstances and anything you would like to let others know.

    No judgmental spirit here.

    (Non pastors are welcome to join in, but understand it is not the same)
     
  2. Refreshed

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    Dr. Bob,

    I'm not a pastor, but I was a youth "pastor" about six months after I was saved. I don't know if that really counts, but I burned out from that position in about eight months. It was at a Southern Baptist church my wife and I were attending, and the pastor didn't really want to be there, so he was delegating responsibilities. I was a new Christian, but because I had been to a Baptist college and had been raised in a Christian home all my life, they decided to appoint me as youth leader (they called me a youth pastor) and teen Sunday School teacher as well as doing things in the morning services such as scripture reading, etc. I found out later that I was being groomed to be the pastor because the current one was unhappy with his position.

    It wasn't long before we found out (my wife and I) that we weren't going to get any help from the people in the congregation, although we did ask. Another disconcerting thing was a very controlling head deacon, pretty much king of the church that our pastor would not stand up to, and I often ended up taking the heat.

    The biggest problem was probably the lack of help, followed closely by my just not being ready to have all that responsibility.

    Like I said, I don't know if this counts, and I'm sure that a pastor (which one day, Lord willing, I will be) has to go through a lot more and is subject to exponentially more stress than I was, but maybe this will help someone.

    Jason :D
     
  3. Su Wei

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    forgive my butting in.... i read the other topic about pastors doing everything that pertains to the church and thus suffer burnout and neglect their own families. That's sad. I don't think GOd intended it to be that way.

    I say it really needn't be!! i do understand it is a very stressful and demanding job (physically, emotionally, spiritually..)but certain aspects of the job, the load can be shared, like hospital visits. Give the other members of the church a chance to minister too!

    Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
     
  4. Major B

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    You are 100% correct, and some churches have done as you say--but most have not and won't. The experience we had--being forced the resign in the midst of a revival of truly historical proportions in this area--and the additional experience of the members of that church mounting a continual and vicious campaign of personal destruction against us,was a brutal experience. However, God has been gracious and has provided other ministry outlets as well as good secular employment.
     
  5. j_barner2000

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    The first ministry experience my wife and i had was with youth. (I claimed the title of Youth director, but the kids called me their pastor)

    I burned out because I had no (yes none) ministry experience. The pastor in fact seemed to feel it was a pain to answer questions about ministry. We had to do it all on what we knew and God led us to do. Without a good support system, ministry can really take a toll.

    The good was that God taught my wife and I. We loved and miss working with the youth, (and are praying for an opportunity to minister to a youth group again.) and He moved us over to this church, where I am being mentored and trained. He led us to change churches even before I realized He was serious about the call to ministry.
     
  6. SaggyWoman

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    I am not a senior pastor but a children's pastor.

    I was burned out of one aspect of my ministry recently. I laid out of it for a year and now I am ready to go back.

    Sometimes we have to take the time away. But, the church members have to help fill the gap.
     
  7. Dr. Gerald Click

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    The Ministry can be very taxing on ones emotions. Ministers spend a lot of time dealing with some very stressful situations such as deaths and illness among the congregation, many of whom are thought of as friends and/or extended family. The Pastor who ordained me recently announced that he is taking some time off from the ministry in order to save his marriage.
     
  8. Jim1999

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    The roads in heaven may be paved with gold, but our earthly roads are filled with potholes. We must learn how to deal with these. We either drive around them, take a detour or slow down and take them easily.

    The ministry is no different to a secular job and we ought to take time out to, as the common expression goes, smell the roses, sip the coffee and observe the things around us.

    Some people take a vacation. Some paint or do other recreational things. The expression, don't be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly value, applies very well to ministry as well. There is no secret to lengevity in ministry. It is all common sense and balance. You cannot be everything to everyone and you cannot "save" many people from themselves. You preach about moral values, principles and the gospel and let God be God and do His part. When will we truly believe that God is who He says He is?

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. David Mark

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    This is not a complaint or a boast, it's just an experience.

    A good one too. It has taught me a lot.

    I was never ordained nor did I hold any title, but I was fully involved in the formal ministries of a church in Philadelphia Pa.

    I was very young. About 23 I think.

    Just before my crash and burn, I was at this point.

    I was second in charge (sort of) of a Serviceman's outreach. I spent extensive hours on a military base evangelizing. All at my own personal cost. Never supported by the church.

    I was Required to attend 5 services on Sunday's. This was a requirement because I was attending the bible college.

    I was a Wednesday night care group leader and I devoted that whole day for preparation.

    Each morning there was a "prayer service". Mandatory attendance was also a requirement for all the bible college students.

    I had an expensive small dorm room, shared by three men.

    No sponsorship. I had to work as many hours as I could to pay my way. I refused any work that required me to work on Wednesdays. That kept me out of any reasonable job. When I could not pay the rent on my portion of the dorm room, I slept in my car on campus.

    Finances became a burden and tithing 10% was mandatory. I let the insurance and registration lapse on my car and I frequently got busted by the law for it.

    I was miserable.

    At the very first signs of trouble, I was disciplined by the leadership and the discipline continued proportional to my trouble. I was refused certain fellowship functions until I got my heart right. No one cared.

    I was not allowed to visit my parents.

    When I looked for support, no one was there. The man who discipled me into the church did try to (sort of) snap me back with this tactic. He mentioned that he felt he knew a girl that would make a good wife for me. When I pressed him for who he thought this girl was, he would never tell me. It was too late, he had only recently made my do not trust list (i guess). His "cons" were not working on me any more. He was very influential and intimidating.

    I never complained. As I left the parking lot of that church for the last time, I was instructed that I was leaving God. I even believed it to some extent.

    I am ultimately responsible. I didn't think things through and I trusted them too much. I just didn't know any better. [​IMG]

    Later, I did realize some major theological error there, but for the most part the fundamentals were ok. The church itself, lead by the Pastor was changing too. Young men would walk down the sidewalks of the campus speaking in gibberish (tongues). The Pastor required us all to fully follow any changes he implimented and he once said (from the pulpit) that he knew there would be folks that would crash and burn over his radical changes. I never thought it would be me.

    Now I am just more careful. I still care deeply for all of them and would like to see them again.

    That was 20 years ago.

    Dave.
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    That was no church. That had to be some kind of cult. :(

    Talking about stopping an smelling the roses, when we were in Ukraine, we were constantly on the go and going places. At one point, we were having to wait in the midst of our travels to one village, so we stopped and picked cherries and ate them.

    Sometimes you got to stop and eat the cherries.
     
  11. Pastorba

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    I don't know if this leads to burnout or not, but it seems to me that the ministry is very lonely.

    As I wasn't saved until I was 21 and worked several different "secular" jobs before going into the ministry (including 4 years in the Army) I got used to the comraderie of fellow co-workers.

    The one thing I wished I had been taught (or listened to if I was taught it) is that ministry is very lonely. I pastor a small church with no staff except for me. It seems like every one you meet you have to always be in ministry mode and really never get to be a true friend to anyone.

    I suppose that has a lot to do with burnout. I can honestly say that I am not burnout, but pretty discouraged at times. There is nothing like pastoring. I truly feel sorry for people who don't get to be involved in ministry full-time. It is awesome to see God work. I just wish there was a way to have some friends along the way!

    Sorry if this isn't applicable to the topic, but I guess I needed to add it.
     

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