June 23, 2011

Question: How do you deal with burnout?

A reader asked: How do you deal with ministry burnout? And the discouragement that comes from the fact of feeling burnt out in the first place...guilt, that it doesn't bring glory to the Lord, not good enough for ministry if I can't 'handle it'...

What are your thoughts on dealing with ministry burnout?

If you have a question of your own that you'd like us to post, please contact us.

More on this topic:
What's Your Ministry Burn-Out Profile?
Four types of burn-out and four solutions from Scripture.

Why I'm Glad "I Have To"
I have not been placed in ministry life because I am among the few and the proud.  I have been placed in ministry life because I am weak.

Ministry Wives Need Ministry, Too
A hurting pastor’s wife is a hurting church member. She needs the Body to minister to her.



  1. A related question, although I couldn't figure out how to send it anonymously. : How do you help your congregation when they are burnt out? Seriously, It seems like they get burned out in their lives and start to drop out of helping or coming or whatever, then that triggers our burn out. When they get burned out they don't seem to want to hear the Word, they want entertainment. They seem to change like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.

  2. It seems to me that the first place to start in dealing with burnout is to put things in proper perspective. Remember GOD is the one doing the work. We are just His vessels, His servants. It is God's job to deal with hearts and change people. Ours is simply to be obedient to His will for us.

    As for the guilt...We are human. So were mighty men and women of God in the Bible. You think Noah wasn't discouraged after preaching for 120 years and only his family being saved? Moses asked God to just let him die because leading the children of Israel was too hard (Numbers 11). Elijah ran away (I Kings 19). It's human to get discouraged sometimes. Forgive yourself and move on. If God didn't think you could do this job (through His power and strength) He wouldn't have given it to you. Ask yourself, do you trust God or don't you? If you do trust Him...problem solved...

    So, how'd I do???

    Thank you for asking this question. I did me good to think up a response. As a pastor's wife I also struggle at times with burn-out and discouragement and guilty feelings.

  3. I would suggest seeking advice from someone you trust like a Christian counselor or older pastoral couple. Sometimes we can't see beyond the "fog." Another perspective on the situation can be so helpful. A sabbatical of some sort might also help if you have someone to come alongside you while you step away for a time.

  4. My first thoughts are...it really can happen to women who love the Lord and His people and that you are not alone if it does happen to you. Praying for the Lord to build me up again as well as being in the Word more has been so helpful for me.

  5. A few thoughts...
    If I don't feel good enough for ministry then I remember that God's power is made perfect in weakness.
    If I don't feel good enough for ministry then I humbly seek my Savior for wisdom and strength rather than pridefully depending on myself.
    When I feel burnt out I re-evaluate my priorities and see if adjustment needs to be made in my schedule.
    When I feel burnt out I check to make sure I've been spending time in God's Word and that I'm ministering for His glory and not my own.
    If ministry needs to be left undone for a time, I trust that either God will fill the need or God will cause someone else to step forward to take that ministry.
    Like Kristy said, we are God's servants and need to be obedient but He is the one who changes hearts.
    Lastly, it's okay to step aside for a time and concentrate on soaking in God's Word, good Biblical teaching, and to pray. Just don't plan to stay there indefinitely.
    Ministry is draining and hard work, don't try to move forward without first putting on the whole armor of God. We desperately need every piece of armor. Then step forward confidently as you glorify God in His way and His time.


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