The word BURNOUT is a scary thing for me- because it is becoming too common a word. Truly if you are in a church that is very 'active' it isn't that hard to arrive at the place of burnout. One of the decisions I have had to make is that the only person (person) that knows how much is too much for me - is me. Sometimes we really want to make things work, but the truth is that it will take so much of us that we may destroy our lives in the process. I have had to decide to be less popular with man, to ensure I don't drop out of the race. it was not an easy decision but I think it is the right one.
My heart goes out to you.
Lets cover one another in prayer that God will help us not to end up losing our passion and fire because of 'work.
Yes, "Lets cover one another in prayer". A constant communication with God is absolutely effective. I have learned to give it all up to our Lord. Take all of the focus out of myself and give it 100% to God! Amen!
Some really good comments and encouragements here. But one thing that causes burnout hasn't really been mentioned, and maybe that's because it can be a touchy subject.
How about the burnout that comes when the leadership above you suddenly doesn't back you up in your ministry (and I mean something totally out of the blue...) and you're left hanging out to dry? It's not a fun thing, and difficult to come back from.
I led a team for four years and enjoyed what seemed like great "success" with the church as a whole. I would schedule bi-monthly breakfasts with my senior pastor and ask him "how am I doing with the worship ministry; any suggestions?" to which he would always reply, You're doing great! You're the gifted person in this area; how can I tell you how to do it better?
But I noticed growing tension with a couple of team members (people that I inherited, by the way. In other words, they came with the job...) My efforts to meet with them and talk with them didn't go well over the months, so at a staff meeting I finally asked the senior pastor to look into it for me and give some advice on how to deal with it. To sum it up, he met with them, then came back to me and told me to resign. The reason? If I don't resign, they will leave the church and take people with them, so by having me resign quietly, things will go better for the church family. When I asked if we could all meet together, along with the church elders, and try to work this out, he said no.
It's been a three-year road to recovery from that one! Burned out? You'd better believe it! But here's what I've learned.
1) Get smart. Watch for the warning signs and take action before it acts on you. #1, I had to take the initiative and arrange for the bi-monthly meetings with my senior pastor; he didn't really think they were that necessary. #2, for over 3 years I had tried to suggest that at least one of these complainers should be moved on, but the pastor wouldn't let me do that. #3 When he didn't give me any advice for almost four years, that's a big warning sign. I mean, nobody is that perfect!:)
2)Don't hold on too tightly. I saw warning signs over the years, but didn't want to let go of what I had. For example, when the pastor consistantly disagreed on how to handle team member issues, I should have recognized that it was time for me consider leading somewhere else.
3) Give yourself a break. I was on-stage almost every Sunday, for four years straight! Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!
4) And in the end, I learned that God is still faithful, and that God can still work - even when things go really wrong! Not that I would want to go through it again, but I have really learned some valuable lessons over this time, and the break has been good (in some ways, though not others!). I now feel ready to take on a leadership role again, but this time with my eyes wide open, and my hands held loose.
Sorry for the ramble...it's the first time I've written this out...and it helps. Thanks to God for WTR! and all you guys, of course!
your situation doesn't sound like burnout...it sounds like getting burned, like getting the rug pulled out from under you...
Thank you for your clear "lessons learned" points (especially #4 [grin] )...didn't seem like a ramble to me...
My prayers are with you, brother...Dan
Hey thanks, Dan. I forgot to follow this topic, so I didn't see your reply until today! I appreciate your prayers and kind words.
It's an odd thing how we Christians talk about persecution - and think that it usually comes from the world. Over the years I have seen more damage done by fellow church members than anyone else...doesn't speak well for grace, does it!
I'm amazed that God keeps using us, but so glad he does. Blessings.
You're right, Junjie, the point is not to embarass churches. We are all people and we all make mistakes, whether we're a pastor, the worship leader, or the church janitor...
My purpose in posting what I did was to simply point out a reality that hits all Christian workers more often than we'd like to see...mainly that sometimes you get stepped on from above, and it will burn you out.
What I hope came out as well is that in spite of this fact, there is no excuse for taking our eyes off the Lord, for He can work through anything, and I mean anything. At times like these, we need to read up on Biblical examples like Paul and Joseph.
Greetings! Sorry it's been so long since I checked this thread. I was blown away by your story, Rick. For a pastor to ask an admittedly successful worship leader (as he had been telling you all along) to resign for the sake of keeping a few people at the church who have some issues that need to be dealt with seems like a huge tragedy. He's buidling a house on shifting sand and catering to the whims of the people, and this is very dangerous! Now those peopele will feel empowered to coerce change however they see fit. Heck, if they can get the worship leader ousted, what else might they get done? Seems like the best thing for the health of the church and for everyone would have been to deal with the root cause. Now those folks will eventually grow tired of or have a conflict with someone else, and cause more problems unless God intervenes. This is defintely not an environment you want to be in and you're probably blessed to leave it, although it's painful. I suspect God had better plans for you. :-) How is eveything now with you?
Thanks for your comments, Steve. God has been good (isn't He always?).
After wandering through a couple of churches (and playing guitar as a volunteer in worship bands) the Lord has led us to a great church with a great pastor. After assisting with one of the worship teams for about a year, I have now been made the coordinator for the worship and arts in the church. I oversee three teams, and am currently starting two youth bands with our new youth pastor. Just a volunteer position for now, but it could turn into a staff job down the road. I've also used this time to start recording my own music, something I never had time for before.
The hard lessons learned from my past experience are serving me well, and I have to say that things are going better than I would have hoped. Still waiting to see where it all goes, but it has been a real lesson in trusting God to make sense out of chaos. Thanks. :)
Sweet! God is good! Sounds like God has placed you in a very satisfying and much more healthy environment for ministry. Hopefuully He is using your departure on the other end to turn a few heads and bring issues to light there too, that need to be dealt with.
Many years ago I created a service at my church. It was a typical Methodist church and they really went out on a limb lettimg me create a contemporary service. Well I became a lot like the little red hen [you got to know the story to get the analogy] I planned every service from start to finish. I set up the sound equipment, arranged for a new speaker every week, planned the worship music, lead the band which I had to put together and rehearse.
I did this every week for 3 yrs and I got very burnt out. It was a sweet time and a great learning experience for me but there is a lot to be said for learning to delegate.
OK, now you done quit preaching and gone to meddling [grin]. Seriously, though, delegation is something that I have to relearn on a very regular basis...and unfortunately it seems that there are time when the only person to delegate to is the cat (who, lacking opposable thumbs, is of very limited utility) which then reinforces the whole "got to do it myself if it is to get done..." attitude.
In other words, I agree with you in theory, but in practice it might not show up the way I'd like...