Caring for the Soul

August 30, 2015

Winning the Lost but Losing Your Family: An Epidemic of Burnout Ministers

Winning the Lost but Losing Your Family

An Epidemic of Burnout Ministers


There is an epidemic of ministers today whose families are being destroyed. Just about every other day I am learning of close friends in the ministry who are going through a separation. The following is a brief analysis of this epidemic and highlights some preventative measures to save your family.


  1. Ask what tempts you. Temptation nearly always comes in three forms:


1) Money

2) Women or

3) Power


  1. Put things in perspective being realistic


  • Remind yourself that acquired earthily procession are not eternal
    • Money is just money
    • You can’t take you Lexus with you when you go see your maker
  • Prioritize reminding yourself you can’t do it all
    • It’s not the end of world if you don’t complete your list of 101 points
  • Ask yourself if it is worth it to save the world, but lose your family
  • Your spouse and children are also your parishioners, they too need care and attention
  • Understand that ministry is hard
    • Not all is a box of chocolates
    • There will be times of low funds/resources, but the grass is not greener on the other side
    • Be understanding of the consuming schedule of the ministry knowing that your time for attention will come


  1. Learn the law of proximity


  • The thing you spend the most time with is that for which you will have the most affection
  • Ask yourself with who or what are you spending most of your time
  • Pheromoneial attraction is a given if you are in close proximity with the opposite sex for a prolonged time
  • Learn to have boundaries (includes both parties of the marriage)
    • no closed doors
    • no afterhours meetings
    • refrain from inappropriate humor or inside jokes keeping things outside of the marriage professional


  1. Prevent burnout


  • Take time to take care of yourself before you can take care others
  • Learn to say no
    • Remind yourself that when you say “yes” to all invitations you don’t have time for football games, recitals, and rehearsals. Then the slack has to be picked up by the other spouse.
  • Delegate
    • Truly delegate meaning relinquish control and don’t micro manage
  • Learn the signs of burnout
    • Loss of passion
    • Feel drained by what used to motivate you
    • Easily angered by what you normally would overlook
    • Experiencing compassion fatigue
    • You make excuses to get out of task
      • You are on cruise control just taking in a paycheck
      • Don’t want to schedule revivals, kids crusades or attend conferences
    • You turn to alcohol to ease the tension


  1. Value the family


  • Don’t just preach about the sanctity of marriage, practice it
    • Have a date night
    • Value the contribution of your spouse with words. Mindreading isn’t real.
    • Take as much time listening to your children as you do listening to others or they will resent you
      • Children are very sensitive to being ignored
      • When you say “I’m busy” this translates to “I don’t love you”
    • One will find attention at all cost so do all possible to make sure this attention is positive and within the family


  1. Be in the Here and Now


  • Leave your cyber-reality to be in reality
    • This communicates you are more important that the internet, the cell phone or others
  • Be with your family with no disruptions
    • Taking your child fishing while you are constantly texting and on the phone is NOT being in the here and now
  • Don’t think about what you should have say or how you should have communicated a point from last weeks message and refrain from thinking about who will be at the next staff meeting


  1. Live in one reality


  • With the influence of cyber-space and depending on your family size, we can live in up to four or more spaces at once: 1) my reality, 2) your reality 3) my cyberspace, 4) your cyberspace and then add two more spaces for each child in the family
  • Share about your different days to defragment spaces so not to be distant not knowing what the other is going through
  • Have a time during the day that is “black” – no technology. Remember that the family that prays and eats together says together.


  1. Ask for help


  • Don’t be a hypocrite, it’s okay to ask for help
  • This means have someone in which you can trust to confide
  • She with your spouse your temptations even at the cost of them getting upset. Getting upset for moments is better that being separated forever.
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