Preventing YOUR pastoral burnout
Last week, I had a conversation with Mindy Caliguire about pastoral burnout. Coming away from that conversation, I continue to be haunted by the discussion about the six-month mark after a crisis. The six-month mark is when mass resignations start to happen, when deep depressions truly set in, when career-ending decisions are made, and pastors end up in the news for the wrong reasons. September 17th is roughly six months after the start of the pandemic in this country... that's less than a month away.
A few weeks back, Todd wrote about how we all need a mini-sabbatical in this season. I am going to double down on that:
You, as a pastor, as a leader, and as a child of God need to make some space in your life this week to sit down, exhale, and listen.
This will probably go against every bone in your body that feels like it needs to be doing something RIGHT NOW... but it is probably the best thing that you can do for your church, your family, and your soul.
So, here's what I'd like to do: I want to buy you a cup of coffee (or tea, or fuityfrappamochachino, or whatever you prefer). At the bottom of this post is a code you can scan at Starbucks to have a beverage of your choice on Chemistry.
But there are a few strings attached.
My hope in this is that it isn't just a cup of coffee that you grab on your way into the office. I'd like for this to be an intentional time of exhaling, listening, and praying. I'd love for this to be a restorative time, or at least a time that opens your eyes to what God is saying to you.
- Make an appointment: Seriously, put it on your calendar. If you are concerned about how to title it, call it "Coffee with Pastor Matt" (people will definitely think it is official church business that way). Set aside a minimum of 90 minutes.
- Find space: Find a space where you can sit, think, pray, and not have to worry about who is around you. This can be outdoors, at a museum, on a beach, or in a Starbucks (with a mask and 6 feet away from everyone). It just can't be your office or your home. Also, leave the cell phone and the laptop elsewhere for this.
- Lean in: We all have our own best ways to connect and commune with our God. I won't tell you how to do this, so if you journal, journal. If you need to pray out loud, pray out loud. If you need to wander and sing worship songs, wander and sing. What I am saying is to take the time to lean into time with God.
- Ask the tough question: At some point, ask one of John Wesley's favorite questions: how is it with your soul. Take the time to wrestle through this with God and listen to the response of your soul and God's response.
Two quick things (and then the coffee code):
- I'd love to hear about your experience if you are willing to share. I'd also love to know how our team can specifically be praying for you and your church. Click here to share.
- Ministry can be isolating in the best of times. When we are struggling, it only makes it worse. If you need someone to talk to, click here and let's find some time.