November 7, 2011

What's Your Ministry-Burn-Out Profile?

Get your #2 pencil and take our 8 question, highly unscientific quiz to diagnose your discouragement style—then find out what to do about it.

1. Your resume highlights the following:
A. I have organized Vacation Bible School 3 years in a row.
B. I have attended every committee meeting. . .ever.
C. I have knocked on every door in the tri-state area.
D. I have. . .um. . .well. . ?

2. Someone suggests beginning a new ministry project. You think:
A. Sounds like a lot of work.
B. It’s going to open a can of worms.
C. I bet nobody will show up.
D. I’m no good at that kind of thing.

3. When your spouse wants to demonstrate love, he:
A. folds the laundry.
B. answers your phone for you.
C. tells you an encouraging piece of news.
D. thanks you for something you did.

4. You’re invited to a dinner party. You think:
A. What should I bring?
B. Who else will be there?
C. What will we talk about?
D. Why was I invited?

5. You often feel:
A. lonely.
B. overwhelmed.
C. disappointed.
D. inadequate.

6. In your next life (I jest, I jest) you’d like to be:
A. an accountant.
B. something (anything!) in a cubicle.
C. a kindergarten teacher.
D. self-employed.

7. A church member comes to you for advice, and you:
A. tell her “just say no”. . .before she even finishes the question.
B. suddenly develop hearing loss.
C. remember that you are late for a meeting, an important meeting, any meeting.
D. smile and say, “Been there. Done that.”

8. You frequently dream about the day someone will say:
A. I’ll help you organize that.
B. I’ll explain it to everyone.
C. I’ll come.
D. I’ll pray for you.

Now, add up your “a” answers, “b” answers, etc., and find your profile and some quick hints below.

If you answered mostly As: you are an Elijah—you feel like you are the lone person around here on God’s side (2Kings 19:14). A Martha takes this type a step further—you feel like you are the only one who is doing anything for the kingdom of God (Luke 10:38-42).
  • MEDITATE: Jesus instructed Martha to take time at His feet. Your self-denying Savior (Philippians 2:5-11) is the essential pilgrimage companion—meditate on Him.
  • DO: Read a Christian biography. Taking the historic view will help you to see that other people have done hard and lonely things for Christ, too.
Mostly Bs? You are a Moses—God’s people sometimes drive you crazy with their immaturity and conflicts (Exodus 32:19, Numbers 11:10-15).
  • MEDITATE: Even when Moses was most exasperated, he pleaded with God to let the people’s punishment fall on him instead (Exodus 32:32.) The Lord Jesus is, of course, the greatest example of this. Take to heart His earnest love for the fickle and ignorant disciples, even within hours of His death (John 13-17.)
  • DO: Go to a wedding (or two.) Look at the beautiful bride, the loving groom, and remember that Christ is preparing for Himself a spotless bride. . .out of the very people who are currently making you pull out your hair.
You answered Cs: You are a John the Baptist—ministry is not turning out to be the success you expected (Luke 7:18-20).
  • MEDITATE: Jesus told John’s messengers to report Jesus’ healing and preaching (Luke 7:21-23). Consider the work that God has done (see the book of Acts) and the work He promises to continue to do (see the parables about the unstoppable kingdom in Matthew 13.)
  • DO: Invest in a mission field other than your own. By connecting with the global kingdom, you will participate in God’s work. And receiving updates from other places will lift your eyes to the big picture of the Gospel’s success.
Ds: You are a Gideon—you doubt your own abilities and gifts. . .and even your very calling to ministry life (Judges 6:15).
  • MEDITATE: God both humbles Gideon and exalts Himself by systematically removing even the small strength Gideon had in his army (Judges 7). Meditating on God’s great power (see Job 38-42) will remind you of Who is in control.
  • DO: Befriend a simple Christian. Your church probably includes several people who, with unremarkable resumes, are nonetheless being used by the Lord. Spending time with one of them will both humble and encourage you as you watch an ordinary person do extraordinary ministry.
Moment of truth: Which burn-out profile are you?


  1. I'm a Martha. But, for fun, my husband took the quiz for me, and he says I'm equal parts Elijah and John the Baptist. Hmmm. . . .

  2. I guess you can blame some things on your mother, Megan, because I am a Martha, too. Except...Question 5. I am all of those, at times, but mostly B. Thanks for the solid advice.


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