I think God might be trying to tell me something. the cover story on seveeral Christian magazines have been about "Running on Empty" and avoiding ministry fatigue. The topic at a recent Senior Pastors' gathering was dealing with burnout. And, a friend recently confessed that he was in a fog with so much ministry.
So, last Sunday evening, I talked briefly with our ministry leaders about burnout. When we "burn the candle at both ends," we're liable to find the flame of ministry eventually snuffed out completely. Through my conversation with other ministry leaders and some research on the topic, I presented the following 10 Symptoms of Ministry Burnout:
1. Longing for “greener grass”-- Desire for a new ministry, new community, or a new church.
2. Dream of escape --Desperately needing to get away. You spend more and more time scanning the Travel section of your newspaper.
3. Anger and cynicism --Conversely, a lack of humor.
4. Increased addictions -- To fill the voids in life, you busy yourself with other distractions. television and Internet are often the worst culprits.
5. Lack of joy in your calling -- You no longer delight in or get excited about successes.
6. Task-orientation -- With an increasing feeling of hopelessness and failure, you begin attending to tasks to “get something done."
7. Loss of creativity and newness -- Your mind shuts down to new ideas and creation.
8. Isolation -- The fear of being exposed causes you to retreat from community.
9. Neglected responsibilities -- What you used to do naturally, you now forget.
10. Unhappy spouse -- Your unhappiness and discontent are mirrored in your mate.
Truth is, we all can experience some of these challenges during the best of times in life. But, when several of these show up in my soul, I need to take inventory to see if I'm about to go down in flames.