We have talked about Signs of Ministry Burnout and we have also talked about Steps on How to Recover from a burnout in your ministry if you are facing one. Now we need to talk about how to prevent a burnout in your ministry, and thus continue to bear fruits.
It is clear that ministers of God should be working to prevent a burnout in their ministry as ministry burnout don’t only affect them, but it also affects their ministry and family life, when the pastor is in pain, the congregation is also in pain; it is therefore of paramount importance that ministers and leaders while they are watering God’s crop, they also take care of watering their own crop, prevention is always better than care.
Steps on Preventing Burnout
Whether you are a pastor, or a minister of the gospel, once you minister to people, you can suffer from burnout. Here are some steps you can take to prevent ministry burnout:
- You need to rest. If you were doing a secular job you would expect to get at least one day off each week to rest and recuperate. So why should it be different as minister? It is very important you understand that you are not a robot, you cannot work an autopilot. Sure the people needs you, but who will they come to when you are either battling from some illness caused by over-work or burnout? Nothing is wrong in taking few days off to so as to refresh yourself.
- Spend time with the Lord each day. Sometimes with the demands that come with ministry, many times pastors and other ministers do not spend enough time with the Lord. Many times leaders spend so many hours dealing with matters of the ministry that they forget that they need to refill each day. If you have a vehicle and do not spend time to service the vehicle, then it will not be able to function as it should. In the same manner, if you do not spend time to service your spiritual engine and put gas in your tank then you will burnout very quickly and not able to work effectively in the ministry.
- Prioritize task is very important. As a minister or pastor you need to schedule time for personal prayer where you lack away from the world and talk to God, reading the Bible, spend time with family, exercise for physical health, hobbies, socialization, listening to music and reading of books other than the Bible.
- Talk to your family. Many times pastors and other ministers think that by hiding things from their family they are actually protecting them; you are only setting yourself up for trouble. You need to talk to your wife about how you feel and both of you should pray together often. Also do feel afraid to ask her for her opinions on things you are planning to implement in your ministry, in other words get your family involve in your ministry.
- Read the Signs. You need to pay attention to the signs that says you are near to face a burnout in your ministry. I know that the Lord called you for ministry, but a burnout minister is not very effective. The enemy will whisper in your ears that what you are feeling is just a little tiredness or it is just for a short season, it will get better. He is wrong!
- Talk to your leadership team. You may feel as if they will not understand, but if they really want your good, then they will not throw rocks at you but help you
- Find spiritual leaders who can encourage and strengthen you. We all need spiritual mentors who we can call upon to pray with us and for us, and people we can talk to. This is no different for pastors and other ministers. Oftentimes pastors and ministers minister to the needs of others but have no one to minister to their needs or to pray with them for strength.
When Elijah felt as if he was the end of his ministry and couldn’t go any further, the Lord instructed him to anoint Elisha to take his place. While Elijah was training Elisha, Elisha was working for Elijah as an servant or apprentice and would be there to encourage and strengthen him, and even pray together.
- Get help. Not because you are the leader means you should and can do everything on your own. One reason why many pastors and ministers burnout in ministry is because they tried to do too much. This was the case with Moses. Moses was taking on the sole responsibility of counseling the people and at the same time being their leader, until Moses step-father came and advise him to find capable men that can help him so he will not suffer from ministry burnout. Moreover, God appointed builders to build the ark so Moses did not have to do everything on his own (Exodus 1813-27; 31: 2-6)
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regular
- Apply your own teachings to your life. One of the things that most parents are guilty of is, always taking time to feed and take care of the needs of their family and forgetting about their own needs. This is also true for people who ministers the word of God or lead a flock. Many times ministers only study to teach to others, not remembering that their own spiritual tanks also need filling. If you don’t feed yourself your tank will soon run dry and you will face burnout in your ministry.
- Live a balance life. Many pastors’ ministries are striving while their family and personal life are suffering, no wonder many pastors burnout quickly and many pastors’ marriages ends in divorce. You need to remember that while you are serving the people, you also need to serve your family. You need to live a balance life: spending time with your family and friends, have fun, eat healthy, and get regular exercise and rest.
“The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights…” (I Kings 19:7-8)
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I would love to hear your take on this issue, do you have any steps or advice to share on how to recover from burnout? Please share your thoughts or comments with us by leaving a comment below. Like this article? Please share it on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you will not miss another post from us.