My counselor shared a statistic with me two years ago that floored me…90% of the people entering ministry DO NOT RETIRE from ministry, they either quit or have some sort of moral/ethical failure that disqualifies them.
I’m not a rocket scientist…but I honestly do not believe that is what Jesus called us to OR what He wants for our lives.
AND yet so many of us (church leaders) struggle/wrestle with this (usually inwardly because if we said out loud that we are dying inside we fear that people may perceive us as weak!)
Here are ten signs that you are near a burnout and/or meltdown…
#1 - You are beginning to despise people and your compassion for them is continually decreasing rather than increasing.
#2 - You OFTEN think about doing something other than ministry…and your biggest desire isn’t to honor God and reach people but to simply find relief from the pressure that seems to be building daily inside of you.
#3 - You cannot remember the last time you simply had fun with family and friends…and joy is something you talk about but are not experiencing for yourself.
#4 - You are disconnected at home…when you get there you do not want to engage with your spouse or your children, you cannot enjoy being around them…you spend more time online than you do with your family…and you find yourself wanting to sleep all of the time.
#5 - You continually tell yourself and those you love that “this is just a really busy season and that you will slow down soon.” (However, the truth is that you have been most likely “singing that same song” for years!)
#6 - You are continually becoming obsessed with what others say about you…and one negative comment from someone who does not like you can put you in an incredibly deep valley and cause you to feel hopeless.
#7 - You begin to make easy decisions rather than the right ones…because the right ones take too much work.
#8 - There is no hope in you…and, you actually despair life. You have actually thought of death…and some have even entertained suicidal thoughts.
#9 - You are experiencing unexplained depression and/or anxiety. You are even having panic attacks and you can’t explain it!
#10 - You are increasingly becoming withdrawn from family and friends.
“How did you come up with this list,” you ask…it’s quite simple, I went back to December 2007 until January of this past year and listed out the qualities that were the most prominent in my own life. That’s right…my life! I went through a trial of intense depression and anxiety during that time period and, the best way I can describe my life would be “dark!”
However, through me swallowing my pride and asking for help, the support of an incredible wife, the support of great friends and seeking out an incredible counselor…and the unbelievable mercy of God I broke free from my darkness this past January. Oh sure, I still struggle with it more often than I wish I would…but I cannot tell you the incredible feelings of freedom and joy I’ve had since January that I haven’t had in YEARS!
And…this is the motivation for Reawaken - a one day worship/seminar for senior pastors, their wives and other church leaders as well. It’s going to be an event where I am going to be talking about the things that pastors don’t talk about that often…how to overcome the desire to quit and actually get your passion/joy back at a level that you didn’t believe you could have.
ALSO…I am bringing in who I would consider to be THE BEST counselor on the planet for pastors and church leaders. His name is Dr John Walker…and not only is he a licensed psychologist but he has also planted churches, pastored churches and served in nearly every capacity as a church staff member. In others words…he understands our world.
It’s going to be an incredible day…in fact, it COULD be the day that the Lord uses to SAVE your ministry! You can go here to find out more information about it...but I can tell you right now that it is going to be the most raw and real event that you will EVER attend. AND…pastors, I am REALLY encouraging you to bring your spouse to this one!!!
God called us to do a lot of things for Him…but He did not call us to flame out or drop out. I want what Paul said in II Timothy 4:7 to be true of all of us! I want us to finish well!