I've been reading staggering statistics about clergy burnout. Statistics revealing how depression, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes are incredibly high among ministers. Did you know the life expectancy of a minister is much lower than the average person? 1,500 preachers leave the ministry every month. Why? I know what some will say, "They're hirelings. They don't pray. They don't love God. Etc." I'm sure that's true way too often, but that's not always the case. And those that readily say such things usually aren't pastors.
We are living in a different world than the men of old. Did you ever consider the fact that John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards, General Booth, A. B. Simpson, etc, didn't have access to phones, planes, cars, internet, Facebook, email or text messaging? If the congregation got a hold of them it was on Sunday or via horse and buggy. And if your preacher was a circuit rider ... you DIDN'T get a hold of him.
They didn't have to compete with cell phones, ipads, ipods, television, radio, internet or Hollywood. People weren't gospel hardened and entertained to death. People didn't expect the preacher to cater to their every whim because they knew they COULDN'T cater to their every whim. Now, compare that with the hundred phone calls, text messages, emails, and literally thousands of Facebook messages I receive per week! I'm not unique, any pastor worth their salt has a similar story. Today's pastor is on call 24/7! The expectation level is insane. People want them to be at all places at all times having the answers to every dilemma. The minister (and whole family) never fully meet the requirements demanded of them because they haven't yet figured out how to be God! John Wesley attributed his long life to taking naps as often as he needed. If today's minister takes a nap someone rings the door bell and accuses them of being lazy and sleeping all day. (Been there and done that!)
But concerning the men and women of old ... they had revival and we (for the most part) do not. They spent most of their time praying, reading, and preaching. Their greatest stress came from wrestling with God, not men.
They understood that the church belonged to God, not them. They understood that counseling can never take the place of the unadulterated preached Word. They understood that the hard-hearted and stubborn laity sitting in the pews were lost and in need of conversion and not to be reckoned as church bosses.
The answer? You need to remember that you're a Christian before you're a pastor! Let's spend more time in prayer and the Word, talking to God about men; and less time on Facebook, answering text messages and counseling people to do what we've told them a hundred times from the pulpit.
If you're tired, sleep. If you're on the verge of burning out, shut your phone off, take a few days off, spend time with God and your family. Learn how to say "NO"! If you're overweight and your health is breaking down ... man up! Get some discipline. Eat right and exercise! It'll pay off in the long run.
Don't let your wife suffer because you're ministering to another man's wife and don't have time for her. Don't lose your kids trying to save other people's kids. If you burn out you will wreck yourself and then be irrelevant anyway. You have no business overseeing spiritual business if you can't overseer your own personal business! (1Ti 3:5)
Don't allow anyone to push you beyond your capacity. And ... remember it all belongs to God. He's the husbandman. Let the divine stay up all night. Let the omnipresent be every where at all times. Let Him be responsible for HIS church. You? Just do what you can. You ask what the people will think? The true Christians will understand and be merciful. The hypocrites? Who cares?
Let go and let God!
Peace, love, hope!
Let go and let God!
Peace, love, hope!