Ministry can be TOUGH!
Whether you’re a senior pastor, worship leader, children’s pastor, or a bi-vocational youth leader…we all work hard to make an impact in our local church.
Church isn’t some business that’s limited to the hours of 9 to 5 on weekdays. Church is where two or more are gathered in the name of JESUS. This gathering can include bible studies, hospital visits, mowing a widows lawn, feeding the homeless, or spending an hour on the phone talking to a church member that needs encouragement. Like a sponge, we can run the risk of being squeezed out till there’s nothing left in us spiritually or emotionally to pour out to others. This is textbook ministry burnout.
How can you avoid ministry burnout?
Treat Yo Self
Here at ChurchTrac, we love comedy. One of our favorite guilty pleasures is the TV series Parks and Recreation. It’s a show about a group of people who work at the Parks and Rec Department in the fictional town of Pawnee Indiana. Between the teams outrageous shenanigans and community projects, there is a special day once a year in which two of the characters, Tom and Donna, pamper and treat themselves to whatever they want.
Nice clothes? Treat Yo Self.
Massages? Treat Yo Self.
Fine Leather Goods? Treat Yo Self.
We’re not saying that buying an expensive cashmere sweater or getting a massage is going to help you avoid ministry burnout. Material items only give us a few minutes satisfaction before their awe is whisked away by just getting through life. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t “treat yo self”.
Do this exercise. STOP… and meditate on Ecclesiastes 2:24-25.
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment[c] in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him[d] who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
We can, and we should take time to be thankful for and enjoy the things that God has given us [both big and small]. Treating ourselves looks different for everyone and doesn’t have be tangible or expensive (although it can be on occasion).
Want to take a beach day with the family? Treat Yo Self.
You haven’t taken the family on a vacation in what’s seemed like years? Treat Yo Self.
Maybe you’re tired of that cheap store brand coffee and always wanted to try a bag of the good stuff? Treat Yo Self.
There are endless ways to Treat Yo Self. What matters is that we do it on occasion remembering that God has provided us the ability to do it through our labors.
Obviously, treating yourself doesn’t mean you just go out and buy a new car or go into debt for something trivial. It simply means to not get so caught up in your work that you forget to actually do something nice for yourself and have fun.
Find something that you can work into your daily routine that’s a “treat” for you. For me, it’s spending a few extra dollars on fancy coffee instead of the store brand. Though I have no problem drinking the cheaper coffee, the fancy coffee makes me happier every morning as I wake up.
What’s your daily treat?
Have something once a week that you love. Maybe it’s taking a walk by the beach to clear your head. Maybe you have a weekly podcast/radio show that you love to listen to on Thursday mornings. Personally, I go the the local arts market on Saturdays to people watch and indulge in shaved ice.
What’s your weekly treat?
Do you have something you do once every month or so that makes you happy? Maybe you like to go to the movies. Do you like going out to eat with your significant other on a special date night. Because my wife and I love live music, we try to go to a concert every few months.
What’s your occasional treat?
Do something BIG for you or your family once a year. Go take a vacation to the Grand Canyon. Replace your old refrigerator that has the broken ice maker. Go and buy the kayak that you’ve had your eye on since last summer. Invite your entire family over for Christmas and buy plane tickets for your family members that can’t afford it.
When was the last time you did something big for yourself or your family?
In the same way we are to be intentional about sharing our faith, we need to be intentional about treating ourselves. If we don’t set aside time or resources to treat ourselves, we never will.
Wake up earlier to give yourself an extra 20 minutes everyday.
Block out your calendar for an hour every Tuesday to have your weekly “you time” at the park.
Eat out less and dedicate the money you saved to that concert you’ve been wanting to see.
Treating yourself won’t make you impervious to ministry burnout…but it can certainly help. Stay tuned for part two of avoiding ministry burnout as we focus specifically on family.