Have You Experienced Ministry Burnout Too?
Have you ever been drained or burnt out in ministry? Ever felt like you couldn’t possibly pour into another human being ever again? Or maybe you became bitter while serving the Lord? I’ve been there, my friend, and I must say it isn’t a fun spiritual place to be.
For several years my husband and I ran a homeschool group. (And, no, I don’t believe homeschooling is for everyone, but that’s a different post.) Anyhow, with running an organization like that I was able to use several of my talents and skills and some of my spiritual gifts. After a few years into the ministry, I came to realize that I was spending the majority of my time in administering things, as well as, handling conflict. Every leader knows that dealing with conflict is a crucial part of their role. However, for me, my heart and passion was to encourage and equip the women, but my leadership and administration roles always took precedence.
So I entered into what felt like the desert of my spiritual journey. Because my husband and I ran the organization and because of the nature of the ministry, I never got a break from it. I felt like I was in constant ‘Martha’ mode when my heart’s desire was to be like ‘Mary’. My spiritual gifts could hardly ever surface. I felt smothered by the tasks at hand and my soul was parched.
My journey went on like this for some time and I kept praying for ways to fix it so I could sit at the Lord’s feet more. Now mind you, I was in the Word doing my devotions and I was regularly attending church, but when I was serving the Lord in this capacity it was so demanding of me that I felt like I was doing it in my own strength. The ‘to do lists’ were endless and I never felt like I had a reprieve.
I was starting to spiritually drown and my heart was becoming bitter. Now I must say since that time the Lord has taught me much in regards to ministry and because of that I am forever grateful.
My soul absolutely sings when I serve Him now. In fact, as I type these words I have tears of joy flowing down my face and it’s all because He is pouring into and out of me as I pour into others.
Some Things to Consider When Serving in Outside Ministries
- The use of your spiritual gifts should be the primary aspect of ministry. The use of your talents and skills should be secondary. For some, your spiritual gifts may even be your talents and skills. For others, this may not be the case, (this situation would describe me). My giftings are to encourage and equip, but I do not have the skill set to write, that is, according to 2 college universities that failed me in their writing courses. However, regardless of what the institutions had to say, I’ve come to the conclusion that once again the Lord is much wiser. I have learned that it is best and spiritually wonderful to have your spiritual giftings take the lead when you are serving in the name of the Lord. And I’ll give no thought to the grammar and punctuation police, thank you very much!
- If you find yourself using just your talents and skills in order to serve the Lord, then don’t be surprised when you experience burnout. God gave you spiritual gifts for a reason. When you use them, you’ll blossom spiritually, because it is Christ who is coming out of you. Serving Him in your area of giftedness will also cause you to be spiritually uplifted and refreshed. I know that doesn’t make much logical sense, but, hey, we’re talking spiritual things here, okay.
- Here’s a simple gauge to help you: You should be spiritually thriving, not merely surviving in said ministry.
- If you’re becoming bitter in ministry, then it’s time to take a step back, pray, reevaluate your situation, and maybe make some changes.
If you’re not sure what your spiritual gifts are, you can discover them here.
Next, I’ll share how my heart was shattered in ministry.
If you missed my prior posts in this series you can read them here.
Now what about you, friend? Have you experienced burnout in ministry? What would you do differently to prevent it?
Live a poured out life for Christ,
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