June 30, 2011

Question: How Do You Encourage the Discouraged?

Last week, we posted a reader question about ministry burn-out.  This prompted another reader to ask a question about what to do when others are tired and weak:

"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."

Let us know how you encourage people when enthusiasm is flagging.

If you have a question you'd like us to post (we'll remove your name), you can contact us.


  1. It's important to remind people of the reason for serving. I believe burn-out comes when we are either trying to please people or are serving in the flesh. We need to encourage them to set their eyes on Jesus and run for the eternal prize.

  2. This brought home to me the need for prayer. Sometimes I go on autopilot, forgetting our dependence on the Lord. I think: "Okay, she's organizing this, they're coming to church regularly, he's using his gifts. Phew! All is well." And I sit back and watch people fizzle out. My response to seeing people serving should be to hit my knees to pray that the Lord would strengthen and encourage them. We are all so weak apart from Him!

  3. I think that is important to not have assumptions or unreasonable expectations placed on people. Like, of course they will coordinate VBS this year since they did it last year (not even thinking about the fact that they will be 8 months pregnant the week of).
    Sometimes people have deeply personal and difficult situations that prevent them from serving, so there needs to be an attitude of sensitivity from all of the people in the church. If you have several people who are getting "burnt out", then you need to do an overhaul of your ministries and find out WHY. Are you lacking direction, purpose, meaning in your ministry?
    Those are the top 3 things that I see for burn out- unfair assumptions and expectations, insensitivity to personal issues, and an overall lack of direction in the church.
    As always, Jesus needs to be our example in how to handle these situations- with wisdom, with humility, with leadership!

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