How do you know if you are facing pastoral burnout? After all, aren't all pastors tired, stressed, overworked, and underpaid? No, they are not. If you feel this way, it might be time to look at the signs.
After serving in pastoral ministry for 22 years, I have seen these signs creep into my own life several time. I have learned to pay attention. I have learned to listen carefully to my thoughts and my words because there have been a few times that burnout threatened my family and ministry.
So, how do you know? How can you tell if what you are experiencing is more than normal feelings of weariness? What if it is signs of something more serious?
I am no psychologist, but I know the symptoms of burnout all too well. My own seasons of burnout have led me to a counselor's couch. I'll never forget the counselor opening the Bible, reading the familiar Psalm 23, and coming to these words, "He restores my soul." The counselor said, "Loren, you are empty. You need God to restore your soul."
In the privacy of that office, I wept openly. He was right. I was empty. I had neglected my time with God. I had allowed ministry (work) to consume my life. It was time to start over. It was time to refocus on my priorities.
I know I am not alone.
In 2010, the New York Times published an article titled, "Taking a Break from the Lord's Work." Here is an exert that might resonate:
Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.”
Here are 10 signs you might be facing pastoral burnout:
Burnout is a dangerous place to be for any pastor. Your church needs and deserves a pastor who is healthy and growing. In my experience, the fastest way out of burnout is to seek the help of others. Find a friend, a mentor, a counselor, or coach. You need to give someone permission to speak into your life.
If this list describes you, I pray you will find the help you need. God is not finished with you yet!
Question: Have you experienced burnout as a pastor? Which of these symptoms did you face? Are there other signs to be included in this list? Share your comment on Facebook.
Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are off-topic, rude, or offensive. Comments guidelines.
Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past
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