Rev. Jones sat at his desk thinking about what he would eat for dinner. Admittedly, he realized that more and more he was watching the minutes wind down to 6:00 p.m., thinking about sitting with his family around the dinner table. As he contemplated spending time with his family, his train of thought was interrupted as his phone rang.
“This is Pastor Jones,” he answered.
“Hi, Pastor. This is Sallie.”
“Sallie! How are you?”
“Unfortunately, not so good today, Pastor,” she said. “My dad was just put in the hospital, and we are in the waiting room now. We are waiting to see the doctors. We were wondering, can you come by to read a few Scriptures and help console mother? She is very shaken up about the whole thing, and she specifically asked had anyone called you.”
Pastor Jones was silent for a moment. The image of him sitting with his family at the dinner table with a juicy steak flashed in his mind, but it was pushed away quickly by a soft, “Pastor? Are you still there?”
“Yes, of course, Sallie. I am so sorry to hear about your father. I will be on my way shortly.”
YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY PASTOR THAT EXPERIENCES MINISTRY BURNOUT
This scenario can seem all too familiar to many pastors. Whether it is your tenth month or tenth year in ministry, the pastoral call can leave you feeling as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Maybe you have compared yourself to other pastors and thought, “They have it all together. Why do I seem to be struggling so much?” Or, perhaps you have wondered to yourself, “Does anyone else feel as worn out as I do?”
Know that you are not alone. You are not the only pastor who has experienced the depth and intensity of pastoral burnout.
THE PASTORAL BURNOUT EPIDEMIC
Being a pastor is not for the faint of heart. Pastors are often expected to fulfill multiple roles. Most of the time you are the pastor, but at other times, you serve as the church administrator, janitor, bookkeeper, handyman, groundskeeper, and everything in between.
However, you have been called by the Creator of the universe for such a time as this. Sadly, it has become all too easy to overwork ourselves. This can result in the neglect of our families, friends, downtime, and most importantly, a personal relationship with Christ. Yet, with all of the day’s responsibilities, who has time for anything else?
Although you are called to work as unto the Lord, it is important to remember that you are also called to rest unto Him.
BUILD UP A TEAM OF INDIVIDUALS TO PROTECT YOUR BLIND SIDE
Most, if not all, pastors enter the ministry with a passion for reaching the lost and for seeing lives transformed for eternity. The majority of pastors receive some type of training (whether it be formally or informally) to prepare them for ministry. However, these ministers quickly realize that out of all the training they received, the area of protecting the blind side was missed.
For many ministers, they cannot cover the blind side of life that comes without warning. When they have made the best of plans something goes wrong quickly. It is at that time you need to remember every good athlete team has a bench.
God has pulled me from the starting team and told me to sit on the bench and wait for just such a moment to help my fellow labors.
Take time off with your family
Take all your vacation
A week is 7 days and not just Sunday
Take time off just for the sake of yourself alone
If you need help from someone with 48 years of experience to fill in on Sunday, Wednesday, a funeral, or just a long talk feel free to contact me.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. William Thompson