I know what you're thinking: we've heard all about burn out. What more can you say that we don't already know.
My answer to that: maybe nothing. I just want to take an honest look at what I believe is the main culprit for making ministers burn the candle at both ends.
I would venture to say the offender is what I like to call The Big Show. You see, as a person in ministry, there is an unspoken pressure that this week has to be better than last week, and next week has to be better than this week, and it's a never ending cycle. We are always trying to be bigger, better, more exciting, more engaging, and more attractive to the masses than we ever have been before. There's only one small problem with that: we are going to kill ourselves in the pursuit of creative growth.
Now, before you think that I am against creativity and bettering ourselves, let me first say that I love thinking out of the box and making strides to do greater things. The problem comes when that is our weekly focus and we spend all of our time and energy on the things that don't really matter.
There have been countless times that I have felt that a service fell flat. It just didn't click like we planned it to. And though I felt defeated at the close of service, it seems like every time someone tells me how moved they were or how God touched them. Why is it that my assessment of the Sunday morning service is always based on how well the plan was executed?
What would happen if we took the pressure off of ourselves? What would it look like if we just did our part and left the rest up to God? I would imagine that He would probably move more freely. If we could throw off the weight of putting on the big show, we could shift our focus to moving the heart of God, and ultimately seeing lives truly changed. Maybe, without the pressures of performance, we could just love on our creator and experience Him in a true, meaningful way.
Let's stop trying to out-do ourselves every week and just be content being ourselves. Let's cut ourselves some slack when we mess up and trust that Jesus is bigger than our perfection and can work despite our mistakes and short-comings. I hope you feel a weight lifted. Maybe you need to have a conversation with your senior pastor. Maybe he could use the permission to not be perfect. Maybe, just maybe, we won't burn out as much.