Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church, after serving a thriving church that started with he and his wife to a membership of over 7000 has resigned. His reason for resignation is that he was 'tired and broken."
Often people see the preaching ministry and assume that it is the fullness of your responsibility as a spiritual leader but that often is the smallest part. The life of a pastoral leader is really between Monday - Saturday. There is a lot of energy and emotion released during the life of a minister. Learning how to maintain and manage your life is extremely important to your long term success and survival.
The life of a minister is full of successes and failures. Successes like leading someone to Jesus, building up a new believer, or successfully completing a building program. But the failures of family, church issues, departing members, and declining influence can lead to burnout and moral failure.
Here are some strategies to avoid burnout and being empty:
Maintain a personal devotional life that is separate from your church and its leaders. “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” Psalms 63:1-3 NKJV
Develop relationships that can encourage and strengthen you during times of despair and frustration. Having friends who Pastor or serve in ministry are important because they can understand your challenges. “Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt. I Samuel 18:1, 3-4
While it is important to set goals and achieve them, be sure to keep your focus on Jesus (the reason for your goals). “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” - Colossians 3:17
Strengthen your family ties. Your family is the greatest source of your strength in times of adversity. Find time to share your challenges and pray with your family through those issues. 'No man is an island.' “God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity..."- Psalms 68:6
Learn how to get some rest. This is the curse word of every leader, but a leader who is not rested is not healthy. Unrested leaders are ticking time bombs to their congregations and families. Your stress levels will be high, and your emotions will be out of control. “Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” - Psalms 116:7 NKJV
Learn the power of delegating. Delegation is a master key to avoiding burnout. Leaders are surrounded by skilled people let them share the responsibility of leading. Be a great manager try to avoid micromanaging every single detail. Set the course employ others and allow the Lord to build them. “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” - Acts 6:3-4
Accept failures and wins with the same grace. When you win thank God. When adversity comes thank God. Use failures or struggles as opportunity to learn and develop. Even when you win there are lessons to be learned. God allows failure to develop and to strengthen us. Don't let embarrassment or fear control your responses to your relationship with God and with others in your life. “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4:12-13
Finally, put your complete confidence in God. He is the source for every success and he gives us strength to endure every adversity and power to overcome. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” - Proverbs 3:5-6