Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Avoiding Burnout

In the previous post I wrote about Reggie McNeal's book on 7 Diciplines of Spiritual Leaders. I thought this paragraph was very well-said to clergy and those in lay leadership positions in ministry...

Our strengths are also our needs. Said another way, we each need to do what we do well. If we don't get a chance to perform in the area of our talents, we feel cheated, grow frustrated, and court burnout.

Most ministry burnout among spiritual leaders is not the exotic type (usually involving some egregious moral failure) that garners all the press and gossip. Instead, it is typically the common garden variety of burnout that results from leaders day in and day out with stuff that brings them no energy and does not play to their talents. Eventually, leaders run out of emotional, psychological, and spiritual reserve.

A strong sense of call or commitment or a highly developed sense of responsibility may keep the leader in place, but only a shell of the formerly vibrant person remains. This happens far too frequently in spiritual leadership circles to be ignored. Moving toward areas of strength, including talent and passions, provides one clear strategy for avoiding burnout.


  1. This is SO on target. One of the earliest lessons learned through my time in discipleship with the Klassens, is that I should serve in my giftedness. God has gifted all of us in some specific areas and when we serve in those areas of giftedness, we would never be tired and frustrated. What a release from feeling obligated to sign up for things because no one else would do it! The bonus is that serving in your giftedness, you will become more energized and fulfilled. What if we all used our gifts the way Christ meant for the His body??? OK, I just had to comment. Thanks, Foley!