Every day, ministers are facing a grave danger of burn out. If you are new in ministry or are a ministry veteran, you must be on your guard to prevent yourself from burning out and feeling completely drained. Here are 3 sure-fire ways to burn out in ministry:
1. Try to be a lone ranger.
Ministry is tough. It’s especially difficult if you try to do it alone. You need a support system of people who can help you carry the load of the work as well as generate new ideas. Because no one is good at everything, having other people involved also compensates for your weaknesses. Trying to be a lone ranger and do everything yourself is a sure way to exhaust yourself a find yourself in a place where you are burnt out.
2. Try to spiritually feed others without spiritually feeding yourself.
In ministry, we are responsible for spiritually feeding others. This is extremely difficult to do, if not impossible, if you aren’t feeding yourself spiritually. I liken it to oxygen masks in an airplane. If on an airplane you want to help others with their oxygen masks, you are instructed to first put yours on. If not, you will likely be unable to help others. The same is true for teaching others God’s Word. If you are not spiritually leading yourself, how can you spiritually lead others?
3. Try to do something long-term that you aren’t passionate about.
Passion supersedes anything when it comes to ministry– talent, gifts, training, salary, benefits, etc. If you are not truly passionate about your ministry, you will not be able to keep from becoming burnt out. That being said, it is possible for your passion to dwindle if you are already burnt out. The question then becomes is your lack of passion causing your burn out, or is your burn out causing your lack of passion? You must answer that question for yourself.
If you are reading this and already feel burnt out, don’t worry. First, prayerfully take time to figure out why you first entered ministry. Ask God to restore your spirit and give you a zeal for carrying out the work of the ministry. Perhaps a conference, vacation, or sabbatical may be useful to allow God to renew your sense of purpose. Brainstorming what is causing your burn out can lead you to your first steps to restoring your joy in ministry.
Have you ever experienced ministry burn out where it caused you to want to quit? How did you navigate through that time, if you did? Leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments to help others!