Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pastors and Burnout

Carol Howard Merrit posted a piece on which asked, What Causes Pastors to Burnout?
Her concern is that there's a very high attrition rate in the first couple of years after graduation from seminary.  (Note that this is in the USA - the attrition rate is probably less here in those first years; the losses seem to come further down the track for us.) 

Merrit's question is one we post about a great deal on this blog too, and it's one we're working on in the National Mission Team on an ongoing basis.   Some of the answers are obvious, some less so, and in some cases there's nothing anyone could do that would assist the burnout situation.

I like what Martin Stewart from Christchurch had to say about this topic:

1. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Ministry is not all about you and what you do, but about who God is and what God is doing in Christ.
2. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
3. Ministry is not at people but with people. I have been aware of many colleagues grumbling about the people or church, and often the escalating conflict has been about a leader trying to bully people into something different rather than working alongside, building trust, and finding a way ahead that is appropriate for the people of that place and time. Too often ministers (and sometimes the people) embark on a totally unrealistic set of expectations.

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