Someone on a message board I post on asked about avoiding burnout. This was my response. Part II will be posted on Monday.
01) Remember the Mission
With the weekly grind of ministry it’s easy to lose focus of the mission and to become inward focused. You start thinking about how much work you’re doing and lose focus of the people you’re trying to minister to.
You need to find new and fresh ways to constantly remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing and who you’re trying to reach.
It’s easy to get burned out if your goal on Sundays becomes, “I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid any conflict or criticism.” That’s not motivating for anyone.
However, it’s much easier to stay motivated and refreshed when your ministering to serve a great and merciful God and to help hurting and broken people in need of the Savior.
I try to remind myself of those two things everytime I take the stage.
02) Remember Past Encouragement & Changed Lives (Keep a Folder)
I have a folder where I try to put a copy of every encouraging letter I’ve received. Likewise, I try to keep track of the lives changed by my ministry.
When a dry spell hits and there isn’t much encouragement and there’s lots of criticism…I open up that folder.
Most ministries are more effective long term, but in the weekly grind we normally only see the short term. Remembering the past can help remind you of the big picture.
03) Remember We’re All Sinners
When I start getting frustrated with the people around me, I have to remind myself that they’re a sinner…and so am I. And their sinfulness is one of the reasons that we do what we do.
04) Remember God’s Promises & Who You are in Christ
In the moment we can start to forget that it’s not all about our abilities. Anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed, I turn back to certain passages which remind me that it’s not about me, it’s about Christ in me.
05) Spend Time With God (Only & with the Team)
This is an obvious one, but it’s also easy to forget. It’s easy to skip or skimp on because there isn’t usually a one to one correlation between time with God and something getting done. Some people claim that when they spend time in the Word in the morning it drastically changes the mood and outcome of their day. I can’t say that that is my experience. It’s happened, but it’s not a one to one correlation.
Therefore, when life gets busy, it’s easy to skimp in this area.
This is extremely dangerous because you’re doing something deeply spiritual without doing the work to be spiritually refreshed. That leads to ministering in the flesh which is a great way to jump on the fast track to burnout.