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how not to burnout in ministry

February 2, 2012

Whether we’re talking about vocational ministry or serving the church as a volunteer, there is no shortage of advice on how not to burnout. Good thing, if not monitored, it is easy to burnout and, when you do, it is awful. Your joy dissipates, you lack motivation and you have a constant feeling of being in over your head. Burnout is really not pleasant.

So, whether you are in vocational ministry or serve as a volunteer, what do you do to ensure you don’t burnout?

Most of us, myself included, answer with a list of behaviors. We may work to set healthy boundaries or ask for support and oversight. This is not a bad thing.  We must implement habits and practices that prevent burnout because, at the end of the day, you know yourself and your limitations.

That being said, we must understand that setting good boundaries and not overextending ourselves, though helpful, do not go far enough. Our habits and practices that prevent burnout must be joined with an earnest belief that God is always at work. He, who never slumbers or sleeps, is always building his church.

One of the major reasons we burnout is because we develop a sense that our work doesn’t matter. When this happens, we often enter into a downward spiral where all we see and experience is our fatigue, failed efforts and disappointments. To combat this, we must remember that our labor is not in vain because Jesus’ resurrection life is coursing through our community and world.

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthians with similar words: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

God is at work.

He is always at work.

Therefore, your labor today is not in vain.

Do you see it?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. unfinished1 permalink
    February 10, 2012 9:35 am

    Thank you for this, Michael, for all of it, but especially for the reminder that God doesn’t need a nap and therefore affords me to take a few…

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