Seven Ways to Help your Pastor Avoid "Burnout"

1. Pray for your pastors every day. Let them know you are praying by telling them in person and sending occasional notes of encouragement. Let them know they're making a difference in your life.

2. Encourage your pastors to lead a "normal" life. That means taking at least one day off each week. Suggest that they periodically keep a time sheet for a week so they really know how many hours they are putting in. Anything over 50 hours is unacceptable. And don't let them skip vacations. Make sure they get away with family and do something totally unrelated to ministry.

3. Capitalize on your pastor's strengths. No one can do everything well. Make sure they recognize their weaknesses as well as strengths. Build an organizational structure to focus on the areas of strength. Encourage them to delegate and to choose associates or recruit volunteers purposefully to assume functions that fall in the pastors' areas of weakness.

4. Help them establish meaningful accountability. It's lonely at the top of any organization. Encourage your pastors to be involve in an accountability group with three or four trustworthy people. Or encourage them to develop relationships with fellow pastor's-- people who are positive and committed to effective ministry.

5. Support their efforts toward change. New ideas fuel church growth but often cause conflict. Be an outspoken supporter of their new ideas. Encourage others to speak out in favor as well. It's amazing how a few positive voices can drown out those few negative voices that so often seem to prevail.

6. Pay them what they're worth-- not just what they need. Pastors lead the most important organizations in your community. They should earn at least a medium wage for your area-- probably higher. Be sure the salary is structured so pastors can take advantage of all available tax breaks. Financial generosity can free their minds to focus on more effective, long-term ministry.

7. Let them be human. It's easy for pastors to become socially isolated. Encourage them to develop friendships, perhaps even outside of the church, where they can be more open and honest about their humanity. Honor their privacy. And be sure they're involved in recreation or hobbies that are totally separate from ministry.

You can be instrumental in your pastor's effective ministry.

Source: Vantage Point (newsletter of Denver Seminary), June 1998

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