I want to share with you a infograph my friend Aaron Helman put together about burnout among youth pastors. Burnout is a real problem among youth pastors and it’s something we must intentionally fight before it happens. Many times we wait until after we are burnout to do something about it, but the best time to fight burnout is before it happens. Check out the infograph below and let the facts open your eyes to the real world of youth pastor burnout. You will probably find a few things below that identify yourself. After you look at the facts below, I’d encourage you to read this post I wrote awhile ago about how pastors can avoid burnout.
Burnout is far too popular among pastors (If you don’t believe me, check out these statistics). I believe pastors face burnout because they don’t take the necessary steps to prevent it before it happens. Many times pastor’s hit their burnout stage and then look for help, but sometimes it’s too late. The key to avoiding burnout in ministry is taking steps to avoid it before it even becomes an issues. So what are some steps you can take to avoid burnout as a pastor?
Guard your time with God. Never let a day go by without spending some time with your Savior. Ministry is busy and will steal time away from God if you let it, so guard that time with all you’ve got. Find a time during your daily routine where you can get alone, unplug, and spend time with God in His Word and in prayer (here is a great online devotional tool I use daily).
Love the person of Christ more than the work of Christ. This one is tied closely to guarding your time with God. Unfortunately many pastors are more in love with ministry than they are with Jesus. I believe this happens to a pastor when he neglects his own personal time with God. If you are spending time with God, taking in His Word, and communicating with Him in prayer you will grow in your love for Jesus which will fuel you to do His work. When we don’t do it in that order, we end up doing His work by our own efforts and strength because we haven’t spend time falling more in love with Him. Don’t allow ministry to become your thing of worship, worship Jesus!
Take care of yourself physically. I’m preaching to myself when it comes to this one. Ministry will take all you have physically. Being a pastor can be one of the most physically exhausting things ever. Because of it’s demand on your body and energy, if pastor’s don’t take care of themselves physically they can burnout fast. Take some time out of your busy schedule to exercise. The most helpful thing many pastors could do to fight against burnout is have a regular exercise routine. And remember, eating healthy is a must too. Our bodies are the instrument God uses to do ministry through us, so let’s make sure we take proper care of it.
Keep your marriage first. One of the reasons many pastor’s face burnout is because their marriages are suffering under the weight of their ministry. I don’t think it can be said enough, but your marriage come BEFORE your ministry. God has created you to be the pastor of your home before a pastor at your church. When your ministry comes before your marriage you are on the brink of burnout. When your marriage comes first and you’re striving to be a pastor at home first, your ministry will be in better shape and not running on empty, headed towards burnout.
These are just a few simple ways I believe pastor’s can avoid burnout before it happens. I would recommend that every pastor should read Wayne Cordeiro’s book Leading on Empty (I recently wrote a review of it here).
[Question] How do you prevent burnout before it happens?
Recently I finished reading Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro. I never heard much from Cordeiro until I saw him in the Elephant Room 2. In the Elephant Room 2, Cordeiro was a part of a great conversation on burnout. He mentioned his book Leading on Empty so I knew I needed to get around to reading it sometime. I’m glad I did. This was one of the best leadership books I have ever read.
As leaders, speaking particularly of church leaders, we are expected to lead even if we don’t “feel” like it. Ministry can be a 24/7 thing that demands your time, energy, and heart. This is not always an easy thing for pastors and most of the time leads to burnout. Here are a few statistics to show where many pastors are:
80% percent believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively
75% percent report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
45% ercent of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry
40% percent of pastors say they have considered leaving their pastorates in the last three months.
This is why Cordeiro’s book Leading on Empty is a breath of fresh air for church leaders. In this book, you will not only learn how to lead when your spiritually, emotional, and physical tank is on empty, but how to prevent burnout before it happens. The thing I enjoyed most about this book was it’s balance. What I mean by is that it presented God’s Word and the spiritual healing side of burnout, but it also presented medical facts and the physical side of avoiding burnout.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone in leadership, epscecially those in church leadership. There is nothing more important in leadership than protecting your spiritual life, physical health, and family. In this book, you will hear Cordeiro’s story of burnout as well as learn how to protect yourself from the same.
Click here to get a copy of Leading in Empty from Amazon for a great price!