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The Dark Side of Ministry

A hot topic around church is burnout.

As a young person, in the church, you are one of the most wanted people to help serve and sometimes in multiple different areas. That's great and that's amazing, but one of the biggest problems is then you're stretched across multiple groups. The burnout part of being a young person in church is more of a feeling of not being heard or seen.

There's certain types of ministries and things like that, that have to have a harder work ethic, which lead to higher burnout rates than other ones. With that, the communications and media has a high rate of burnout right now, and it's because they're normally understaffed, possibly even underqualified.

There are people who work in those ministry departments and they're having to figure it out every single day. They’re learning classes and taking courses on top of doing their daily responsibilities. That is not always the case for all other staff members. They did their schooling once and then now they operate in their knowledge and their situations.

Media communications have a high rate of burnout. There are some things and ways to get around that. You should take Sabbath. Yes, I know Sabbath is almost a cuss word in church staff culture, but in reality it is extremely, extremely important. True Sabbath is getting away doing things that you enjoy doing, not feeling like you're to do them.

The last group that I wanted to touch on is burnout for lay church people. Don't be offended by the name. That's what they call a normal church attender who isn't a staff member. If you attend a church on a Sunday, you are known as a lay member. .

Burnout for lay people is really because of the amount of work and time that they are willing and wanting to volunteer, so it is very much an individual's situation. We need yes people, but we also need people to understand their limits. What will happen is yes people say yes to all the different things. They say yes to kids' ministry, they say yes to youth, or yes to worship. That is a genuine recipe for burnout.

I think one reason why lay people experience burnout, maybe even more than either of the two groups, is because they want to be a part, they want to be involved, to share their time, gifts and abilities. However, there should be proper boundaries to have an amazing church experience of where you're encountering God every single week.

If you start feeling that you're waking up in the morning on a Sunday and your mindset is, “oh I have to go serve at church”, you may be experiencing burnout. You may want to take a break. You need to be able to go to your leaders that you're working for and ask them for a serving sabbatical. If that's a week, if that's a month, whatever, be able to get your heart and mind right, to remind yourself that you're working for the Kingdom of God while also being a regular church attendee.

Not everyone is the same. There's going to be communication people that don't experience burnout. There's going to be pastors that don’t experience burnout. However, if you start to feel yourself burning out or notice a lack of boundaries, remember to take a step back and put in healthy boundaries.


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