What should a pastor do when feeling tired, burned out, under-appreciated or even under attack?

1. Don’t isolate yourself. Solitude is a spiritual discipline and is healthy. Isolation is not. Make friends with someone not associated with the church. Someone from another church, a friend from seminary days, or even someone in town who is mature enough to handle the idea of a pastor who does not have his act together. Pastors can have too many relationships in church but no real friends. Isolation is a dangerous position to be in that can lead a person to a lot of dark places and allow a person to make some really poor decisions in their life.  Choose wise friends who can listen and tell you the truth – Proverbs 12:26.

2. Read your Bible.  When the Bible (or your soul) is dry as dust, don’t stop reading it. Even in a time of spiritual or emotional drought, a willing heart will once again restore God’s purpose and joy – Psalm 51:12.

3. Pray through the Psalms. Anyone in turmoil will find a treasure trove of encouragement and hope from the pen of the psalmist – Psalm 50:15.

4. Seek help. Getting past ministry struggles can be daunting. Seek out professional assistance from the District staff, a mentor or a pastoral counselor. Attend your pastor cluster meeting. Most guys in your group have struggled in ministry and can give an understanding, listening ear and wise counsel about that with which you are wrestling – Proverbs 15:22.

5. Share the burden of ministry. You can’t do it all by yourself. Share the load of ministry with your elders and other leaders – Acts 6:1-7.

6. Take a break. Even if it is in the middle of the week, occasionally take a personal health day.  Maybe a weekend away to stare at clouds and butterflies. Take all your vacation time. Ask for a Sabbatical after seven years. And even if you are busy you need to take your Sabbath rest every week. If it was good enough for God, it is good enough for you. Be creative with it. But spend time communing with the Lord – Genesis 2:2-3.

7. Remember who you serve.  t is not the praise of men you should seek. In fact you are not in ministry even for yourself. The Lord is your judge – 1 Corinthians 4:3-4.

I watched a great video on this topic. If you are a pastor or a leader in a church then this is a podcast worth taking the time to watch (or listen here, #30).

Know we are here to pray with you.

 – Pete

The following two tabs change content below.

Peter Johnson

Senior Pastor at Hanoverdale Church
Peter has served as an associate pastor in NH and at Montvale Evangelical Free Church in Montvale, NJ. For nearly ten years he served as senior pastor of Northern Valley Evangelical Free Church in Cresskill, NJ before joining the Eastern District staff from 2007-2017. He is now Senior Pastor of Hanoverdale Church. Peter and Karen make their home in Hershey, PA, where Pete enjoys painting (art, not houses), gardening, and talking to his neighbors across the fence.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.