Love Your Leaders
The roles of ministry leaders change over time as new needs arise. In the Bible, we see apostles, women funding Jesus’ ministry, teachers, elders, pastors, and believers opening up their homes for Christians to meet. Nowadays, we have administrative staff, pastors, governing roles of church bodies, worship leaders, Sunday school teachers, children’s ministry directors, community group leaders, missionaries, volunteers of all kinds, professors, parachurch roles, etc.
Many times, church members don’t know something difficult is going on with ministry leaders in the church until there is a somber public announcement or seemingly sudden divide. Many staff members and volunteers get so caught up in the business of ministry that they neglect time to check in with themselves and encounter God. Many issues can come from neglecting spiritual health – burnout being one of them.
Burnout is not reserved solely for pastors. It touches the life of any person who embraces a service role for the kingdom of God. If you are wondering how you can support your ministry leaders’ spiritual health, pay attention to some of these often overlooked areas:
How much time is spent in the worship gathering with the church family versus outside the sanctuary making sure everything is running according to plan? How many Sundays in a row is your child’s Sunday school teacher serving? How often are greeters missing worship and arriving late to the service?
Who is leading groups or organizing weekly events? Is it always the same handful of people? According to a study by Pew Research, only about 20% of church members are volunteering in the church. A way you can help ease some of the demand on ministry leaders’ shoulders is to serve alongside them. It can be difficult to know where to serve in the church if you’re not particularly drawn towards children’s ministry. There will always be a need for volunteers in this area, but there is a wide variety of needs on a weekly basis at the church that don’t involve serving with children. These opportunities aren’t always broadcasted at the pulpit like childrens’ ministry, but it’s worth pulling aside a ministry leader and asking for direction on different ways to serve.
Freedom to Set Boundaries
Do your ministry leaders feel like they can say no to events when it comes to prioritizing their family? Their health? Let your leaders know that their personal lives are as important as their ministry role.
In a Barna Group study on The State of Pastors, it was reported that almost half of all pastors polled had difficulty finding time to invest in their own spiritual development. However, it was found that the top two spiritual practices of choice included prayer and reading the Bible. The practices of worship, silence, and solitude scored very low as essential spiritual disciplines. A shift needs to happen in the way spiritual health is prioritized. It is the time set aside for silence and solitude that set the stage for consistent prayer, Bible reading, and worship.
Pastors who fell into the low risk category for spiritual burnout consistently engaged in their spiritual practices of choice. They also noted they found the worship at their church to be “personally meaningful.” Barna summarized their findings with spiritual practices like this: consistent spiritual practices matter.
The programs and services of Desert Road Ministries are offered to individuals who are currently serving in ministry, are related to someone who is currently serving in ministry, or have served or been related to someone who served in ministry in the past. “Ministry” positions can be defined as a volunteer or paid position in a church or religious organization. Our team is here to promote spiritual health however we can. If you or a ministry leader you know would like to collaborate with us on growing spiritually, please reach out!