Seven Responses to Prevent Pastor Burnout

Posted by | August 03, 2016 | For Pastors, Ministry Life | No Comments
Line of matches with one match burned out

By Thom Rainer

In my blog post Saturday, I noted seven reasons pastors burn out. I was delighted to receive a full response to my post from Lee Haley, executive pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I offer his response in full below:

With over 40 years in the ministry, nearly 15 in an itinerant ministry, I have seen the challenges of many pastors who burn out. I offer the following seven responses for churches to consider:

  1. 24/7 mentality. In single-pastor churches, have deacons (or their equivalent), share the ministry load. In multi-staff churches, make sure pastors rotate this responsibility. Pastors should have one weekday off during every week. Typically that day is either Friday or Monday.
  2. Conflict. Have a written conflict policy and utilize it. Peacemaker Ministries is a great resource.
  3. Expectations. Have a clearly written job description. Have quarterly status meetings between the pastor and church leadership. Assure the pastor the church is supporting him.  Take your pastor to lunch, get to know him and listen.  Did I mention listen?
  4. Unwillingness to let go. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the pastor. This exercise should be established at the beginning of the pastorate. If it was not, make it a priority and begin the process at once.  Positive interaction between church leadership and the pastor is vital.
  5. No friends. The best friend a pastor may have is a church member who loves unconditionally, listens, and does not betray confidences. Some make friends easier than others. Encourage your pastor to develop friendships. Make sure he has time to develop and maintain them.
  6. Not suited for some tasks. Churches must have a clear understanding of their pastors’ strengths and weaknesses. Tools such as DISC, Predictive Index, and Spiritual Gift assessments should be requirements. Church staffs should be built to balance spiritual gifts, personality types, and skill sets.  Pastoral assignments should be based more on skill sets and less on job titles.  In single-staff churches, members should assist the pastor in his area of need.
  7. No life outside the church. Churches should provide for vacation time, insist that pastors utilize their time off, and provide sufficient resources for the pastor to get away. Churches should develop a paid sabbatical leave policy. There are things about the pastoral ministry that are unique to it and only a few other professions.  The work of pastoral ministry is 24/7 and consumes the vast majority of a pastor’s life.  It is his work, it is his play, it determines many of his friendships and, as such, it never stops. Sabbaticals are an important way pastors can remain effective.

Plus one: Support your pastor’s wife.  If a pastor is burning out at church, you can be assured his home life is suffering. Treat your pastor’s wife with the highest level of respect. Respect her time with her husband and family. Design times of refuge, rest, and relaxation for her.  Ladies should take her to lunch and listen.  If your pastor’s wife has a well-balanced life, it will go a long way toward the balanced life your pastor deserves.

Click here to read the original blog on ThomRainer.com

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on September 30, 2013. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam,  Art, and Jess; and nine grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

About Ron Cook

Ron and his wife Rodetta have been married 39 years. They have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. Ron ministers to hundreds of pastors annually through mentorship, counseling and by phone. He has been a Pastor for 39 years and understands the stress of ministry, and wants to share his longevity in ministry with other pastors and help them finish well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please fill out the form below to download your FREE Care for Pastors Sunday Planning Guide.
*We hate spam and never share your details.
Thank You. If your download doesn't start automatically check your email.
Thanks for participating in Care for Pastors Sunday!
8% Contribution (Physical Products)
5% Contribution (Digital Products)

As the world's largest distributor of Christian products, Christianbook.com provides online access to their premier selection of Christian products--over 500,000 books, Bibles, DVDs, CDs, gifts, toys, games, and more.
0.5% Contribution (Per Purchase)

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.

Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com
15% Contribution (Monthly)

Guard yourself and your loved ones with Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering.

Our goal is to equip people with tools that provide protection and encourage accountability and trust in the fight against Internet temptation.
4% Contribution (Monthly)

Everyone deserves affordable legal and identity theft protection. Including you.

With LegalShield on your side, you have the power to access legal and identity theft advice and services when you need them, all for one low monthly fee.