Almost everyone sets goals at the beginning of each year. Maybe you don’t set personal goals, but you probably have set goals for work or for your ministry. If burnout is on your list of things to accomplish this year, here are 6 pro tips for making sure 2019 is your most difficult and burnt out year yet. If you want to avoid burnout this year, I suggest staying far away from these pro tips!
1. Never spend time with God or the Bible outside of work or sermon prep.
We all know that spending personal time with God is one of the most important things we can do to keep our soul refreshed and energized. Reading the Bible outside of our church work is an integral part of that. If you want to burnout this year, make sure you stop spending time with God and never read the Bible unless you absolutely have to. There are more important things you could be doing than refreshing your soul in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Don’t worry about making time for it.
2. Do everything on your own.
You hear so many church leaders talking about training new leaders and giving work to others to free you up to focus on other tasks. Well you know what they say, if you want something done right you need to do it yourself. You can’t trust other people! Make sure you never give work away and do everything yourself. Don’t train up new leaders and don’t challenge people to do more. If burnout is your goal, then this is a must.
3. Prioritize your ministry over your family.
If you’re married and/or have kids, you know that loving them and nurturing relationships with them can be incredibly time consuming. Make sure not to let your family take time away from your ministry this year. Work late and on weekends as often as possible, don’t be their for your kids’ events or spend time with them, and never take your spouse out for dates.
4. Take every criticism and failure personally.
Not to brag, but this is one I’ve become really good at over the years! When someone says anything even remotely critical of you or your ministry, they mean that as a personal attack on you and your character. Respond as such! And anytime something goes wrong, especially if most things go right, make sure you focus only on the bad and beat yourself up for anything that went wrong. Bonus points if you can simultaneously shift blame to anyone and everyone else.
5. Don’t ever take time off.
One critical step to burning out quickly is to work all the time. “No Days Off” is the mantra of many athletes. Super Bowl winning head coach Bill Belichick even led a chant of “no days off” at their Super Bowl parade a few years ago. Take that mentality with your ministry and burnout will soon be your reward. Keep no boundaries either; let anyone call or text you about church stuff at any time of the day. If you’re taking numbers 2 and 3 to heart, this one should be easy!
6. Never have fun.
Recreation is an incredible way to wind down and relax. If you want to burnout though, relaxing is completely out of the question (see number 5). All work and no play will make you the most productive you can be, and don’t we all want to be more productive? Avoid fun at all costs and you’ll be well on your way to burnout.
In all seriousness, burnout is an epidemic among ministry workers and if we aren’t careful, we can find ourselves burnt out and wanting to quit. If we want our ministries to thrive and we want to make an impact on our world with the gospel, we must take care of our souls. These pro tips are a good “what not to do.” We have a high calling, Kingdom work that needs to be done. As we go about doing the work God has called us to this year, let’s be sure to take care of ourselves and those we love.
I hope you all have an incredible year and may God bless you and your families and all you do!
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