Recognizing Precursors of Burnout!

     It is that time of year when things seem to go from busy to busier.  You are juggling a million and two things already and still more stuff is dropped into your lap.  In addition, you may try to tackle challenges at home. You feel like if you receive one more request, one more crisis call, you're going to loose it.

     If this is how you feel, burnout may be a factor in your life.  There is only one thing that can prevent you from going down the road toward self-destruction i.e. taking radical steps to regain control of your life.

     In most cases, burn-out is a condition that can be assuaged by more effective time management and boundary setting.  If your inventory score (see link to our test above) is 30 or above, you should consider taking deliberate steps toward freeing up time for relaxation, self-care, family fun (including romance), friendships, education, spiritual edification, etc.  Freeing up time, of course, absolutely includes having to learn to say a polite, but firm "no."

     I believe that all of us overstressed, underpaid ministers of Christ instinctively (or by the Spirit) know how to take care of self so we can continue to care for others.  I think it be great if some of you would share below your ideas and recommendation for self-care.

Take care--really,
Pastor Kenny

Your Self-Care Ideas:


Date: 20 Feb 2001

Contribution

Nothing relaxes me more, and gets me in a state of prayer, than going fishing away from civilization. I try to get into the wilderness once a week during the warmer months. I usually come back a renewed person.


Date: 21 Feb 2001

Contribution

I think one way of preventing burnout is by creating structure that allows for "time-outs." It includes putting family events on the calendar and treating them as seriously as church appointments. One of my favorite time-outs is "story time." Right before my boys (10 and 6) go to bed at night, we have a 20 minute story time during which everybody gets to make up a (often silly) story. I try to do this 3 or 4 times a week with them. Talking about quality time and recharging the battery--that's what this is for me!!


Date: 23 Feb 2001

Contribution

I'm a new pastor in a new position, first time ever, full-time pastor (no pressure there!). I love the people given to my care. Unfortunately, the church has no manse and I'm commuting at least 15 hours a week until we find a place closer to the church. The commuting is sressful! The one thing I do for myself - I protect my Thursdays, my pastor's sabbath. That's time for my family.It's keeping me sane. reverend KJ


Date: 02 Mar 2001

Contribution

Anyone else feel guilty about taking time for you/your family? Right now I'm a new mom (my daughter is nine months old), and while everyone in my two-point parish says they're supportive, when it comes to things like me not being able to participate in all the parish events I used to be part of, there is discernable anger and resentment. I'm worried that this is a)affecting my attitude toward ministry and b) affecting how my husband and daughter see the church, as rivals for my attention. Of course, I'm coming up on my two-year anniversary in the parish, typically a time for congregational unrest, so that's not helping any. But rationally knowing this and not letting it dig in to my gut s not as easy as it might sound... I'd appreciate any and all prayers as my family, parish and I go through the next few months of struggling to find our way forward together. (BTW, my burnout test score was 34!) Heather


Date: 03 Mar 2001

Contribution

For several years now I have requested and been granted two "family weekends" each year. I usually take them around a long weekend/holiday. They are not counted as vacation time. We do not visit family or friends on our family weekends. It is our weekend together. Sometimes we go away. Sometimes we stay home and do "day trips." I choose when to take them with the stipulation I won't be gone Christmas or Easter Sundays. Those family weekends have come to mean more than any salary increase.


Date: 03 Mar 2001

Contribution

I'm involved with Reserve Chaplaincy in the Canadian Army. I try to take the opportunity to get out and go on as many Exercises as possible, just for a change of pace. Nothing is more refreshing than working the physical to revive the mind.

I know not everyone is a military chaplain - however, perhaps get aways to another place, outdoor camping or other such "different" exercises will help the stress. I also like to get away from the phone, email and internet - so NO ONE can call me!

So, I would recommend retreats, of what ever nature is pleasing, refreshing and interesting to you all!

Blessings on your ministries.

Lt DW Bos Canadian Army London ON


Date: 03 Mar 2001

Contribution

One of the things I practice is "comp" time. If I have several days in a row where I work more than twelve hours I will take some additional time off. If I don't take a vacation following Holy Week I will be intentional about scheduling a light workload (sermon prep, visit the sick, Bible study, no meetings, no scheduled counseling sessions, no extra curriculars). Of course if somebody dies my plans for a light week go out the window.


Date: 04 Mar 2001

Contribution

Often is the case that we have little time to self or self reflection. We become spiritually depleated after giving so much to others. As a long commuter (12-15 hours per week) I have discovered the grace of audio books. They can be purchased or borrowed from your local library.

Generally we are so busy that we do not take the time to enjoy a good book. Time alone in your car is a wonderful time to enjoy an audio book and arrive at your destination relaxed. This self indulgence is also a way to use time without guilt feelings.

Ohio Seminary student from Michigan serving a two point charge


Date: 04 Mar 2001

Contribution

Some things which help: classical music on the car radio (I commute 1 1/2 hours each day to work) I also like Prarie Home Companion, if I am still at work that late. I try to get to enough AA meetings. I have recently started working with a spiritual director; for Lent, I am going on a "television fast" to see what I learn from that. (It may be that the tool I use most to relax may actually cause stress in my life.) I go on a date with my husband once a week. And when my kids are home from college, I will put down a sermon, in order to spend time with them. I like to garden, too. All of these help me manage my stress. Which was a 26. That is an improvement in my case...


Date: 05 Mar 2001

Contribution

My stress/burnout test was 37 - an associcate pastor with lots of expectations at the 18th month of my ministry here. Also a relatively new mom - a 6 month old daughter and a 2 year old son. There is alot of professional friction between the senior and myself - two healthy egos and different ways of doing ministry, in addition this is his first time as senior (in a congregation where he used to be the associate) and my first call as associate (coming from a solo call.)My lented discipline will be to decide if the professional tension is something I can live with or whether I need to be in the mobility process. In addition, I'm not sure that I'm cut out to be a "big congregation" pastor (1800 members) Any insights would be welcome. Pastor Mary


Date: 05 Mar 2001

Contribution

I'm just on my way out now to the gym. For 1/2 hour I live guilt-free. I am taking care of me, which everyone says I'm supposed to do. There is no phone... and no parishioners. It is one of very few things I do where I have to stay totally self-absorbed. If my mind starts wandering to contemplate the next youth group meeting or advisory board... I lose count and have to start over :^) Could parishes be encouraged to pay for health-club memberships for their clergy? Then finding time to get to the gym could fall into the category of "making sure the Parish gets their money's worth"! Nay-oh-mee


Date: 06 Mar 2001

Contribution

I like to go to Mass about 1 morning a week at the nearby Catholic church. Few people know me there, and no one has any expectations of me, and I can pray and worship in peace, not worry about how the service is going. Of course, I respect the Roman Catholic position on outsiders not taking communion, but the priest is a friend of mine, and I do go up for a blessing--just like the little kids. Pastor Mary S. (not the same pastor mary who is a few posts above, who I will keep in my prayers for a while. Now, she has reasons to be stressed. Breathe, sister!)


Date: 06 Mar 2001

Contribution

For a quick release, I play card games on the computer. One or two rounds of solitaire or hearts, and I regain perspective about whatever is throwing me into a tizzy (I'm the youth director, so the "tizzy" happens a lot.) Plus, with the card games, my competitive edge is curbed, in a healthy way! (I love the idea of the church paying for gym memberships, though - I cherish my time on the treadmill.)

Aerin in CA


Date: 10 Mar 2001

Contribution

I had a sabbatical of 10 weeks a couple of years ago after going strong for 7 years. It wasn't until I STOPPED everything that I realized how absolutely tired I was. And, it took me close to a month to realize I really was not working... However, I made a resolve not to skip a day off every week, and even to take another day at least once a month. This has helped greatly. What I found I resented the most was the lack of time with my family--so I put that in front again, and separated the feelings about my ministry from my family, and relaxed. Prayer definitely helps, but we have to work with the Lord on this and remember that there is a 7th day for rest.


Date: 10 Mar 2001

Contribution

Pastor Mary and Pastor Heather,

I too am a Mother and a Pastor and have been ordainded for 7 years now and have a call to a large urban parish. I have 3 daughters, 7, 5 and 2. The collision between Mothering and Ministry can sometimes be overwhelming but I have managed to put a few things in place that make it managable. I would love to corespond and support other young moms and pastors. Please email me. b.blakley@sk.sympatico.ca Pastor Carla


Date: 14 Mar 2001

Contribution

Ambush the Ambush! Here is a thought, if satan tried to use the word against the word in the wilderness...would he not try to use the church againt the church in the ministry? I feel that satan lays a trap for us, in ministry burnout, to the actual point, that we Pastors are always giving out, and not having much time to recieve ourselves! Psalms 91 is a key for me...abide in the secret place, under the shadow of the almighty! Being a Pastor and evangelist on the east coast, I once fell into the "ministry trap" but in prayer one day, God spoke to me and eccentially said "you are caught up in the ministry, when I wanted you to get caught up in me!" now that was an eye opener! so here is what I say, ambush the ambush. You know that satan has laid a trap for you, so spend twice as much time in prayer, twice as much time in praise and worship, twice as much time in meditation of the word....so that when satan comes to see about you, you are waiting on him, all prayed up! Pastor Roger Howard


Date: 17 Mar 2001

Contribution

It is very important for me to take time to walk in the park and to run. Find something that is relaxing and do it at least once every week. Schedule it! Pastor Kirk


Date: 23 Mar 2001

Contribution

I think we should all realise that pastoral ministry isn't necessarily for life. I believe God wants me to review my ministry every five years. I give myself permission to release myself from ministry if in a five year review I discover that I am working for God out of guilt rather than love. I know God doesn't want someone who serves him because they feel they have to. I want to serve God at the moment but that could change and if it does I don't buy the "You are out of Gods will" argument. Maybe it's Gods will for some of us to give it up and work on our own personal holiness


Date: 23 Mar 2001

Contribution

This is a word of advice I received from a pastor's spouse when I began full time ministry: You will be asked to do a lot of things, but consider, "What is God calling you to do"

Another word of advise was: The church wants to act like a large cororation; get the most out its employees at the least possible cost (pay and reward). But God says rest!


Date: 28 Mar 2001

Contribution

I have been in counseling for burn out. What I have found most helpful is learning about family systems from him and from Edwin Friedman. His book, Failure of Nerve, is incredible. He rightly points out that the problem with burnout is not time but emotiional dynamics. What is important is finding out who God made you to be and what your vision for ministry is. Too many of us feel feel like we have to take over God's job of making everyone happy and then are surprised when we can't! Then we try harder to do something that won't work.


Date: 29 Mar 2001

Contribution

Whenever I say "yes" to something, I also ask what I am saying "no" to. That helps me realize that when I say yes to church, I am saying no to family and self and I can then make a decision that is balanced. It helps to remember that saying yes to church can also mean saying no to God because we are called to live as whole and healthy people, and to be attentive to our relationships. I've been through a time of burnout, but it won't happen again. If the congregation doesn't like it, they can find some one else. Just because they are addicted to activity doesn't mean I have to take on the guilt they inflict. I make sure I have enough boundaries in place and professional skills that I don't depend on the church for employment. I can earn just as much working as a clerk at the local university and I could find fulfillment in my "ministry" of living and working with that community also. Ultimately for me, if the church expects me to live in unhealthy ways, I'll do something else because I understand my calling in terms of my whole life. I'm a mother and wife before I'm a minister. Get tough my friends! I've learned the hard way. Do the little bit you can and remember God can get along just fine without us!


Date: 02 Apr 2001

Contribution

For seventeen years I ran a sporting goods store and made a decent living. The reason that I got into sporting goods was that I was passionant about sports but I found after a time that it became simply work. When I was called into ministry I remembered what happened with my business and decided from the start that the passion that I felt for the Lord was more important than the "church work" I might do for him. I still work a full time job, with children at risk, not sporting goods and support a three church charge but the Lord has blessed me and continues to bless my life. The churches that I serve are realistic enough to know that they must do ministry with me not wait for me to do it for them. The situation has forced them and me to grow. I think that if I were "full time" that might not be the case. I also worship sometimes with other denominations as well. Even the shepard needs to eat. God bless you all. Pastor Dan


Date: 03 Apr 2001

Contribution

It took me 6 years of full-time ministry in another part of the country to realize that I was up against "cultural differences." Through working with a good counselor, I realized I needed, and wanted, to return "home" and switched conferences. Now I find I can be the pastor GOD wants me to be, rather fulfill the expectations of others and the institutional church. It took courage to make the change, but I'm so glad I did! (My score was 13 - but last year, it would have been more like 50!)


Date: 09 Apr 2001

Contribution

Feel like hitting my head against a solid brick of wall - in the midst of changing the set up as it has been for decades. Yet I am amazed how the Lord comes to my rescue through His own people. The support, even from sources I have least expected has been simply wonderful. Indeed our God is the Greatest.


Date: 09 Apr 2001

Contribution

Feel like hitting my head against a solid brick of wall - in the midst of changing the set up as it has been for decades. Yet I am amazed how the Lord comes to my rescue through His own people. The support, even from sources I have least expected has been simply wonderful. Indeed our God is the Greatest.


Date: 18 Apr 2001

Contribution

get regular physical exercise. Walk briskly for at least 30 min a day. Smile and greet people you meet.Read Scripture daily, pray daily. See the congregation really listening and reasponding in worship.Stress the tradition that Thomas traveled farther than any other Apostle. See his facial expression as he sees the Risen Christ. Certainty replaces doubt! He is accepted and inspired in a new and awesome way! Thomas reminds us that doubts don't have to win! Jesus replaces doubt with joy and confidence! which leads to amazing new impossible mission in India! AWESOME! Joe in Oregon


Date: 01 May 2001

Contribution

I try to do three things on a daily basis. 1. spent at least 30 minutes in prayer 2. Daily Bible reading for enjoyment, not a sermon or anything else 3. Physical Exercise. I have taken up jogging.


Date: 12 May 2001

Contribution

The single most draining part of my ministry, and consequently, the greatest cause for burnout is preaching. Ironically it is also the one thing I enjoy the most. Yet the weekly demand of producing a Word that is Biblically and Theologically sound, relevent to the hurts and hopes of my people, engaging, inspiring, humorous, etc. is what burns me out more than anything else.

I have found most helpful a special week of retreat which I take in the fall of each year. I go away to the beach with my Bible, lectionary resoruces, and a couple of new books on preaching. I come back with 9 months of sermons planned (date, text, title, and two paragraph summary). It is liberating to see the direction you are headed. It is comforting on Monday morning to know that you have already started. Music staff really appreciate this plan as they plan for anthems.

I am always free to break away from the plan to use any new inspirational ideas. But the plan allows me to use the entire year to collect material and file for the future in ways that match with a selected text.

I am probably one of the least structured persons around. But this one discipline that I do each year keeps me thriving.

Fred in LA


Date: 14 May 2001

Contribution

I find I have to replace my obligations with another obligation (like putting family events in my datebook). And what has worked the best for me is singing with the chorus of San Francisco Symphony. The congregation understands and enjoys my involvement there, so they don't mind rescheduled meetings when I have to go to a rehearsal or concert. When I'm singing, I don't have the time to fret over church-related stuff; plus, much of the music we perform is deeply satisfying spiritually. If you're near a symphony and like to sing, you should check it out.

Karen in Berkeley


Date: 21 May 2001

Contribution

I believe burn out to be a very unbiblical term a pastor who is praying an staying before God will not burn out our God is a consuming but what he uses he does not burn out.He used the burning bush but it was not consumed an he can do the same for the man of God.Paul never once complained of burn out nor worried about it. he prayed on an God kept him. God will keep us as well the night is far spent we must work not worry about burnout Christ is sufficient for the journey.


Date: 22 May 2001

Contribution

Whether burnout is a scriptural word or not is beside the point. It is a real phenomenon, affecting all churches everywhere, and causing much pain for pastors and families. Denying its reality has been a problem for me. I think we all have the temptation to believe that if I were a good pastor I could make everyone happy. Soon however it becomes apparent that there are way too many expectations of clergy that no one can fulfill. Right now are congregation is going through conflict, and a small number of people want to deal with it by scape goating yours truly. At times like this, I don't know what I would do without my collegues in ministry. Our ecumenical group gets together once a week, and it helps all of us to realistically assess what is going on in our ministry. Sometimes there are so many negative voices in the church (and silent voices)that we need a place to hear and to say what is going well. I can't help but wonder about the correlation between pastors who operate as "lone wolves" and those that suffer burnout. Lisa


Date: 24 May 2001

Contribution

The Scriptures may not call it "burn out" but there are certainly examples of it--see Elijah in I Kings 19, or Moses and his father-in-law's advice in Exodus 18. Good people striving to God's work, but feeling overwhelmed. I agree that taking care of ourselves is primary, learning how to balance body-mind-spirit. I just got back from a six-month spiritual renewal leave (which I didn't want to take, but my husband, a mental health professional, did--am I glad I listened to him!) and it was the best thing I ever did. The desire of my heart was to learn new ways to listen to and know God, and did that ever happen in a renewing way! I missed both Christmas and Easter in my parish, and everyone survived very well under the leadership of a retired interim pastor, and they were delighted to see me back and rested! We must rest physically, rest spiritually, and rest mentally in order to recharge in those areas, too. Taking days off, using all your vacation time, taking retreat time not as vacation time. I negotiated an extra week of vacation a few years ago in lieu of more salary! Physical exercise, new things to think about--the music and singing mentioned above, the books/audio tapes--those are all great. But no one will do it for us. We must be active and proactive. My prayers and blessings to all who are struggling with this issue. (My score was a 12--it probably would have been in the 40s before my renewal!) Pastor K


Date: 25 May 2001

Contribution

Every Tuesday afternoon I go to a secret location in my carand I just sit and be quiet.Sometimes I play some Christian music and read the Sciptures.Somtimes I just repeat softly to myself the words"be still and know that I am God." Every other day I go for a walk for at least half an hour.Pastor G.


Date: 15 Jun 2001

Contribution

One clergy friend of mine uses this technique. He went to the local office supply store and bought a basic timeclock and the cards to go with it. When he starts his day he punches in. When the day is over he punches out. When he comes in for a meeting, a youth event, a furneral, ... whatever it is, he 'goes on the clock.' He has set for himself a maximum threshold of 50 hours. If he exceeds that time, he quits and takes the rest of the week off, making himself available only for emergencies. His work week begins on Sunday morning.

One thing I have used is taking Friday and Saturday off every week. Friday is my "chore day." That's when I do all the household chores, run erands, work around the house, etc. I can get a lot done when the kids are in school. Saturday is my sabbath. I don't work. No chores, no errands, etc. The family goes out to eat, plays games, watches TV, has a picinic, whatever.

Confession is good for the soul. I don't always stick to my schedule, but when I do, it really makes a difference.

DR


Date: 03 Jul 2001

Contribution

After 38 years of ministry I give thanks that about 20 years ago i got to know an 'ole' time' called lay minister who had no seminary, no Bible college, no graduate school, but the hard knocks of life and a conviction that God had called him to share the Gospel to a rural area that had no church in a fifty mile radius. He said that he "burned out" in three years because he thought the Lord had called him to be the "savior" for these people and that he thought every "interruption" of life was a call to "get up on that cross" for that person. It didn't matter if they had a terrible disease they were coping with, a struggle with faith, a nose that needed blowing, a utility bill paid, a scabble reconciled; he knew he was called to climb up that cross. In addition he had to stand in the "bow of that boat" every Sunday and preach a sermon that would convert the sinners that he just knew were in one of the three churches the HE STARTED and then have a Bible class that would be as practical as Paul's epistles. The bottom line was that in three years he collapsed. A little 93 year old lady visited him in the hospital and asked him: "Preacher, have you noticed that Jesus often went off by himself after sine duffuckykt tunes? I call these "holy pauses" because of all those "unholy interruptions". I think a losts of the things that you do for us have beconme "unholy interruptions" not b ecause we intended them to be, but because you want them to b e. Why don't you start taking some "holy pauses" like Jesus did. I think Jesus pralyed for himself just to r4est, I think he just looked at the wonderful creation of His Father, and I believe He thought about the gifts of God's people and not the unholy interruptions,. After these "holly pauses" he could continue in ministry without his mind always on the cross, even though he knew death for the ultimate fulfillment. And even for us "giving our life for our brother would be the ultimate fulfillment of love for our brother" but we don't keep climbing up on that cross; but we assist, refer, pray, deal with the "unholy interruptions" without climbing up on the cross and then make sure that we take "holy pauses" to "be silent and know our Lord." I have utlized this simple formula and it has worked for me over the years. Sometimes the "holy pauses" have been for 30 minutes and sometimes for up to two days. My church leaders and my family have always understood this need and been cooperative in giving me the time.

A Texas Pastor of the Lutheran Tradition


Date: 19 Jul 2001

Contribution

Its good that there's a site for overstressed, underpaid ministers (you mean 'paid ministers'), but how about the overstressed, unpaid, overcomitted true ministers (ie. the whole body of Christ in the church). Its only a theory, but I believe much of the stress that paid ministers experience is because their idea of ministry is fundamentally flawed (ie. it's a one man show).


Date: 30 Jul 2001

Contribution

Every evening...rain, shine, snow or hail....or at least it seems like it.... I take my Bassett Hound, "Angel" for a walk.


Date: 09 Aug 2001

Contribution

I scored a 23. I too am one of the ones that finds mothering and "wife-ing" to conflict with pastoring. Sometimes I wonder if I should just quit and stay home for a while. I trust in God. Like a fellow colleague said, "God has called me to be a pastor and a mom and a wife. God will work it all out." I have found that, as a small church pastor, reading books by Steve Bierly has helped. And I also play hooky once in a while to be with my son. Finding time to be with my husband is more difficult since he commutes 45 minutes one way to work, and gets home about the time that, at times, I am getting ready for a meeting. I have read in other places not to plan for a summer slump; however, I've been enjoying the summer slump here-- I've had some pretty light weeks lately. Elizabeth in PA


Date: 15 Aug 2001

Contribution

Self care: Really take time to read a whole chapter of the Scriptures and take it personally. I get huge encouragement from that.Even if I do not do it every day.

Make a drink in the middle (muddle) of the day and look out the window with the steam from it before your eyes and just daydream. Pray a lot more for yourself. I don't do this enough. Be completely honest with God. Accept His mercy; it never fails: Lam3:20


Date: 11 Nov 2001

Contribution

I have several articles on this topic you may be interested in at ministryhealth.net . God bless! Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Director


Date: 28 Jan 2002

Contribution

Hi, You might want to get a copy of this book," Rest In The Storm", written by Rev. Dr. Kirk Jones. It has some very good insights on clergy self-care. Thank you and God bless. Jenny Clark


Date: 08 Feb 2002

Contribution

I'm not a Pastor, but the wife of a Sr. Pastor and a fellow labourer in the Gospel. My husband finds time to steal away with the Lord in the wee (A.M.) hours of the morning. This keeps him connected with the true source of Power. To relax he does a physical-strength training workout, (almost daily). It's also a good way to relieve stress and anxiety. Another stress reliever is making an occasional trip to his favorite spot. His "spot" is by any body of water. It's kind of hard to feel over-whelmed when faced with the awesomeness of what God has created and helps to remind him that God is in control of EVERYTHING!


Date: 30 Apr 2002

Contribution

An organization called Renewal in the Wilderness takes clergy who are in need of spiritual rejunvenation into the wilderness for a week of spiritually directed travel. I've done this, and it clarified many things for me, and connected me to God in ways I never anticipated. Plus, it was fun. Their website is www.renewalinthewilderness.org


Date: 28 May 2002

Contribution


Date: 24 Jul 2002

Contribution

Well, You found your way to THIS site, so that is a step in the right direction. At least you are recognizing some of the stressors, and are seeking a healthy alternative to burnout.

Remember - Jesus took time away to pray. You can read about it in the Gospels. In your quiet time with Him.

As for me? I've started doing all the things I used to do for fun, before going into the ministry. For some reason - I took care of everyone else, and put myself on hold. It feels great again getting back into my old hobbies. AND spending MORE time with my family.

Randy Kanipe United Methodist Pastor Covington Georgia, USA


Date: 31 Aug 2002

Contribution

I've already submitted this elsewhere on this area of the DPS, but it's been such a help for me, I offer it again: THE ART OF PASTORING: Contemplative Reflections, by William C. Martin, published by Vital Faith Resources, P.O. Box 18378, Pittsburgh, PA 15236 412-655-4958. I'm pulling back from burn-out, and am feeling human again for the first time in years! If you have the opportunity to take sabbatical, sabbath leave, or study leave, do it! There are many resources and people out there to help you find your way back to the joy-filled person God called into ministry. You'll feel like a new person - and your congregation will bless you. Daily quiet time for prayer, even wordless offerings, scriptures and other good writing, physical exercise (especially walking a dog), going to a movie (My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a joy!) - get back to all the healthy, wise and fun things you did before the demands of ministry became overwhelming. Only you can make the choice to become a wholly holy human being, not a human doing! Blesings to all - Frandy


Date: 22 Nov 2002

Contribution

I scored a 30 on the test. I have been intimately involved in the life of the church for almost 40 years although not in the capacity of a preacher. I feel that I need to be on the other side of the pulpit. It is difficult to say, "It is time."


Date: 8/28/2003

Contribution

I have a clergy friend with whom I meet weekly for study and prayer. We spend one week a year hiking the Appalachian trail. This friendship provides a sounding board for ideas and an objective ear for issues and personal struggles.


Date: 2/9/2004

Contribution

I'd like to share my experience and what the lord told me about the periods in my life that cause my burnout. He spoke to me one day and said wood, stuble, and hay. He said that all those years that I worked the hardest in the church would not be rewared in heaven because, in his words, he doesn't have to pay for anything he doesn't call us to do. Of corse this hurt, but it also helped me to say, "NO' to any request that did not align up with what the lord has told me to do. He also spoke to me, and said, " Don't drop your net nowhere unless I tell you to. This also applied to people as well as church work. I've suffered so much trying to please people. My burnout is still here but slowly I'm being healed. Bottom Line: GET OUT OF ANYTHING THAT THE LORD HAS NOT CALLED YOU TO DO. I'VE SUFFERED TREMENDOUSLY AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO. Stop it NOW!!!!


Date: 7/24/2004

Contribution

The ordained ministry has never been more difficult. You come in with great positive enthusiasm but after a few years you realize you are dealing with real people with real problems and not all of these people are nice people. Some are downright mean. In the United Methodist system you are at the mercy of a bishop and a cabinet and often times when things go rough for you they punish you rather than try to help you.

Paul R. Body


Date: 1/2/2005

Contribution

Thank you for creating this site and to all who contributed to it; I appreciate reading your experiences and ideas and feeling less isolated in my own experience. I've been an associate pastor for 5 years, have a great working relationship with the senior pastor and staff, and love the people we serve. Divinity school (I went in the 90's) was probably better in my experience at addressing clergy burnout and prevention than seminaries used to be. Still, my feelings of burnout come from the disparity between what I feel called and capable of doing and different expectations of a few parishoners. We also currently have a council moderator with a pattern of deceptiveness (ie holding secret council meetings without staff knowledge, when staff as ex-officio members are supposed to attend.) These actions have left me feeling many things: vulnerable, hurt, betrayed and resentful. We depend on the person in this role to oversee and ensure the fairness of church council processes, and it is very unsettling when that process is undermined. This is one of many things that has worn on my nerves, cost me sleep and anguish. I believe many people who feel God's call to minisry are people who have great sensitivity and compassion for other people and their needs and experiences - and so when that sensitivity is denied to us in some tangible way we are particularly hurt by it. I remember the exasperated words of Christ: "How much longer must I be AMONG you people?!" And it gives me a chuckle but also reminds me even Christ needed to get away! My approach to offsetting burnout is similar to many of yours: regular exercise, regular day off(barring emergencies), spiritual nourishment outside my church, time each week with family and/or friends. I also am able to speak with our association clergy (similar to Bishop in other denominations) for advice, support and pastoral care. Best wishes to all of you and your families for a healthy ministry and personal life in 2005! KJ


Date: 2/23/2005

Contribution

I have been a pastor and missionary for over twelve years. I have a wonderful wife, two beautiful girls, and a vibrant ministry to sailors stationed overseas in Japan. How have I avoided burnout? Here are some non-negotiables that I have learned along the way: 1. My "Quiet times" must be distinct from my study time. Just 'being' with the Lord and His Word each day is absolutely vital. 2. Family first! If my flock is getting more of me than my wife and kids, it's time to stop, confess, and re-prioritize. 3. Exercise. There's nothing like a good workout to help bring things into perspective. 4. Keep romance and intimacy alive with your wife. It strengthens the marriage, releives stress, and guards against immorality. Honor her always. 5. Deligate! It is wrong thinking to believe the lie "If I don't do it myself, it won't be done right." Let others try (and fail!). 6. Live by the Spirit, not by the "List". We must ask for God's empowerment and guidance each day, even in the mundane tasks of life and ministry. Even completing our 'lists' requires faith in the Lord Jesus.

Hope this helps.


Date: 3/10/2005

Contribution

Hey, I just stumbled on your site here. Iwas actually looking for a way to get the word out to people in full time ministry that there is an awesome bed and breakfast in Ashland, WI called Second Wind Country Inn B&B. We are a christian family who once pastored full time and now we have built a B&B in hopes that it is a place for God's servants to catch their breath and be refreshed. We offer it to those in full time ministry staying for 3 or more nights during the week at a greatly reduced rate. We'd love it if you helped get the word out. Kelly and Mark www.secondwindcountryinn.com


Date: 3/15/2005

Contribution

I AM AT THE POINT OF BURN-OUT AND NEED A VACATION YESTERDAY. MY HUSBAND IS UNSAVED AND DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE A NEED TO GET AWAY FROM MY PARISHNERS FROM TIME TO TIME. HE FIGURES SINCE I DON'T WORK IN THE CORPORATE WORLD ANYMORE, WHY SHOULD I NEED A VACATION. I NEED YOUR HELP IN DEALING WITH THIS.


Date: 28 Aug 2001

Contribution

The Uniting Church in Australia has encouraged parishes to consider allow their minister four Sundays off each year. Usually this is one weekend per quarter. These weekends do not take the place of holidays. These "free" weekends are usually negotiated by the minister and her/his Presbytery before taking up a "placement" in the parish. jon Watson


Date: 17 Oct 2001

Contribution

Nearly every morning I take a half-hour prayer walk before I so much as have breakfast. This has done wonders for keeping me right-side-up....and I'm losing weight, too!