I read Anne Jackson’s blog almost everyday. She is one of those “big-time” bloggers and she has a book coming out next February called Mad Church Disease. The book is basically about the disease of church leaders getting burned out. Talk to anyone in ministry and they know burnout is an issue to be dealt with almost constantly.
I was listening to a message of Mark Driscoll’s a few weeks back. He shared a story of meeting with Rick Warren. Rick had created a list of 10 young pastors in the U.S. that he desires to mentor and pray for. Only 2 years after he had made that list, more than half of those young pastors had left church ministry due to burnout or personal sin.
I want to keep both of these things in one hand and have this rest of this post in the other hand.
When I think about burnout I am reminder of the disciples of Jesus. The Bible says Jesus asked them to drop what they were doing and follow him. They left their families and jobs and gave their entire lives to Jesus. A noble cause no doubt. I also think about the many volunteers at my church who give countless hours above the long and tiring hours they work during the week.
I understand the need to take care of yourself. Because of school I work part time during the year, but this summer I worked full time and I’ve done my best to make sure I get 2 days off a week. I know it helps keep me sane. But I know I could give more, just like the disciples did.
I wonder if this idea of ministry burnout is more about selfishness (I’m not accusing, just wondering ok?). I wonder if we think too much about ourselves instead of how we can serve God. I wonder if burnout would be an issue if I understood what it meant to live for Jesus. So while we keep in one hand the real dangers of church ministry burnout, let’s keep in our other hand the examples that the disciples and church volunteers are.