10 Keys to Avoid Ministry Burnout
Stress is a culprit that can derail anybody, even those in ministry. Ministry can be both a blessing and a discouragement. Tracie Miles, author of Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World, offers 10 keys to help you avoid ministry burnout.
- Remember that stress comes with the territory.
If we expect ministry to always be pleasant and problem free, we are setting ourselves up for imminent discouragement. Serving in ministry is an unequalled privilege and comes with infinite blessing; yet, it will also be sprinkled with problems along the way.
Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, (ESV)
- Learn to recognize the warning signs of stress.
Nearly 90% of doctor's visits in the United States have a direct correlation to the level of stress of the patients. Stress is like a silent killer; slowly taking a toll on its victims while they live completely unaware of the harm they are inflicting upon themselves. If you are feeling irritable, anxious, worrisome, frustrated, or less than passionate about your ministry, it might be time for a spiritual pick-me-up.
- Is serving in ministry is a JOB or a JOY?
If you have found yourself feeling negative, struggling to rediscover the joy you felt when you first embarked on your adventure of faith, remember that we all experience discouragement and frustration from time to time. Spend some time in prayer asking God to help you with your negativity and fill you with joy.
- Satan's most useful and effective tool is discouragement and frustration.
Satan wants us to quit. I once heard that people do not trip over boulders -- they trip over pebbles. And in ministry, there are always lots of little pebbles, called problems! As Christians we will stumble in our faith at times, but we can find hope in Psalm 37:24 which says, "Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand." With God all things are possible. "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12).
- Do you experience pressure of projects or passion for His purposes?
Be aware that when you start operating under the pressure of projects instead of passion for His purposes, you will be on a path towards discouragement and burnout. Discouragement starts out as a little problem, but can lead to bigger ones. If you are feeling stressed about situations or burnt out about ministry, take a moment to realign your focus from projects, to passion for Christ.
- Strive to be resilient by depending fully on Christ.
The word "resilient" means "springing back or rebounding; returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed or stretched." Ask yourself if you have been feeling stretched, compressed, or bent lately. Pray for God to infuse you with new enthusiasm and motivation, and give you a supernatural glimpse of how your efforts are not going in vain.
- Be sure whose voice you are listening to.
Anytime we get involved with ministry, Satan wages a full out attack on us. Why? Because Satan is not going to bother with people who are living in sin, apart from God, completely oblivious, or deliberately disobedient to God's call on their life. Ask God to make His voice loud and clear and drown out thoughts that are not of Him.
- Do you have people around you with the "spiritual gift of discouragement?"
Discouragement is a major tool of the devil, and other people can infect our hearts with their pessimism and negativity. When the enemy whispers in our hearts that nobody appreciates what we do or supports us, we may begin to agree. Ask God to bring people into your life who will "get you," and seek out positive affirmation from scripture.
- Don't let frustration stress you out to the point of quitting.
Satan wants us to quit, but with God all things are possible! "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12).
- Ask God for a glimpse of how you are making a difference in His kingdom.
Don't ever doubt that God is using you to impact His kingdom, even if you are unable to see what He is doing behind the scenes. If He has called you to serve, He has a purpose for your obedience.
For more encouragement about finding peace in Christ in the midst of stressful circumstances,
check out Tracie Miles' new book, Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World
Sign up for Tracie's free 10 Day Stress Detox, available on Monday, September 24th, at www.traciewmiles.com.
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Question: How do you cope with ministry burnout?
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Tracie is a national women's conference speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her greatest passion is encouraging women to live intentionally for Christ, and help them discover the joy that comes from living a Christ-centered life. Tracie lives with her husband of twenty two years, and their three teenage children in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit her at www.traciewmiles.com.
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