Professional: As a counselor, we constantly talk about self-care to our clients, even being ethically required to take time off if we are not in a good space. What happens if a pastor is not doing well with self-care?”
I began working at a church plant a few years ago with the intention of becoming full-time eventually. I felt called to ministry and wanted to work at a church that was going to make a difference in the world! When the church started, we obviously did not have any funds so I had to fundraise 100% of my “part-time” salary and also work another job. While I understood this would be difficult, I knew in the long run I would eventually become full-time (hopefully).
I even began to question if ministry was the right place for me.For the next 5 years, I worked a secular full-time job while working at the church. Overtime, I became bogged down with responsibilities and the pressure to do everything – maintain a marriage, work a full-time job, hang out with friends, equip leaders, oversee Sunday morning operations, etc. – began to build up. At one point, I even began to question if ministry was the right place for me. It was becoming difficult to handle every aspect of ministry, another job, and maintain some sort of social life.
After the fourth year or so, I began having the conversation with my wife about us moving elsewhere. I told her all the frustrations I was having and what I was feeling. Spiritually speaking, I was not in a good place with God and I felt like much of that was coming from being so thinly stretched.
With all of the frustrations, pressure, and lack of pay, I decided I would be stepping down shortly after my 5 year anniversary working at the church.
I’m not sure if anything would have helped me from getting burnout, but I’m glad my wife and I are where we are now. We left with friends and still have great relationships with all of them, so I believe everything worked out for the better!
Do you have any burnout stories for you?