The very nature of what we do in ministry is give.
We give services, we give counsel, and we give and give. The more we give and the more we serve it never seems to be enough. More is needed and often demanded of us. This leads to what is classified as “Empathy Fatigue”.
You may be suffering from Empathy Fatigue if you have lost your enthusiasm for ministry or if you find your mind wandering while others are talking directly to you. Ministry is your identity and defines you rather than Jesus. You just don’t have the energy to be a personal witness to the world around you.
Instead of praying for your critics, you spend a lot of time and energy coming up with ways you would like to destroy them. Your once gentle spirit has become sharp and abrasive, especially with your spouse. You would rather do anything than be a pastor. You just want to quit.
We can help. Empathy Fatigue is one of our specialties.
Read the following testimony of a pastor who with his wife spent a week, focused on Care for Pastors’ Rejuvenate Care:
“For the last 4 ½ years, our lives consisted of emotional upheaval from many avenues. It began when we lost both of our assistant pastors and our secretary who was very beneficial to the fluidity of our ministry, within a 4-month span.
I felt I was always “behind the eight ball”. Challenges came from outside the work environment. Many areas of sorrow and anxiety crept into our lives with each one bringing added weight upon us. We did not even realize how devastating it was becoming.
We had family crises. Our daughter left home unexpectedly with some sin issues in her life. Later that same year, we got word that my wife’s dad was dying. Our son got married and 3 months into their marriage found out they were going to have our first grandchild. During this time our son had to leave for Afghanistan for military duty. While there, his wife found out there were some complications with the baby. The baby would have to have open heart surgery shortly after his birth. You can imagine the strain.
We had natural disasters. A very large tree landed on our house causing over $25,000 damage. This happened while our grandson was spending 5 weeks of recuperation from his surgery.
These were a number of areas that drained the energy from us. “Life” was taking its toll.
We came to a point of enduring each other. The love was there, but we were worn out and joy in general was gone. All this led to frustration with the pastoral staff and deacons who did not understand what we were going through, or how to help us. I contacted Care for Pastors and after talking with the deacons, a six-week sabbatical including a week at CfP (Care for Pastors) was offered to us by our deacons. We would not have survived without both. We traveled to Florida – broken and exhausted. We needed help! God began an amazing work in us that week. We had counseling, rest and began a new journey. I still have some emotional moments pop up at times. We are living a “new normal.” Daily, I am sensing growth. I sense God working in me. My wife and I are laughing again and communicating so much better. The joy of life, marriage, and ministry has returned!”
You may not be suffering the depth of Empathy Fatigue of this pastor, but you could end up there…
If you’re reading this and would like to learn more about the Rejuvenate Care Program for Empathy Fatigue, contact us HERE or visit the link below to get more information.Learn More About Our Program