How To Avoid Pastor Burnout After Becoming A Pastor

How to avoid pastor burnout is a concern to many churches. As I examine the concept of ministry career burnout, I want to offer encouragement to those pastors considering career change simply because they are warn out.

My hope is that we re-frame the concept of leaving ministry, viewing it rather as expanding ministry, seeing career change for pastors as a positive choice.

Avoid Pastor Burnout: Actions Wounded Shepherds Should Take

As I was researching Steps To Avoiding Pastor Burnout, I was surprised to see myself quoted in the Jul/Aug 2006 edition of Ministry Today.

Chris Maxwell wrote an article entitled Runaway Shepherds? that quoted me for some comments I supposedly made about avoiding career burnout as a pastor.

Here is how he referenced my famous quote in his article on pastor burnout, saying Paul Slater, a chaplain in San Diego, helps pastors feel appreciated and also guides them toward new careers.

Suggested Actions For Avoiding Pastor Burnout

Nonetheless, if I had written what I am quoted as writing, here is what I would have written so that I could be quoted:

Ten Steps On How To Avoid Pastor Burnout
by Chaplain Paul L. Slater

  1. To avoid pastor burnout, there is help for pastors so avail yourself to regular counseling from a counselor outside your local congregation.
  2. After becoming a pastor, remember to take consistent days off, doing something totally unrelated to church work, spending time with family relaxing.
  3. Take a sabbatical, whereby you recharge your spiritual batteries over a longer period of time. Do fun activities that bring joy to life and deepen your relationships.
  4. Become part of an accountability group, honestly baring your soul, confessing your sin, and expressing your doubts, yet keeping you pointed in the right direction.
  5. Discover your spiritual gifts as well explore personality profiles to see if you are doing what God gifted you to do professionally.
  6. Begin journaling, expressing your inner feelings on paper, exploring your inner self.
  7. Open yourself to an outside critic, someone to critique your sermons and decisions in order to determine if any negativism or bitterness is being expressed to your congregation.
  8. Those who become a pastor need to go to the doctor and get a physical, just like anyone in the frail human family. Then do what the doctor orders -- exercise, change your eating habits, lose weight, choose healthy sleep patterns, laugh more. Even take naps during the day.
  9. Walk your talk. Live what you preach. Allow Grace, Hope, Joy, Peace, Forgiveness, and Acceptance to be inner spiritual realities in your life as well as the message you proclaim.
  10. Finally, remember it is God you are to please and honor. So seek the applause of God, even if it means changing positions. You will still be on the Lord's team.

When It Comes To Pastor Burnout, You Are A Hypocrite, So Says My Wife

I could not find anywhere writing the suggested actions attributed to me in the article above (actions for wounded shepherds to take in order to avoid pastor burnout).

Let me share a conversation I had with my wife regarding the pastor burnout suggestions that were attributed to me.

You see, my wife says that if I wrote the suggested pastor burnout avoidance strategies, I am one big hypocrite. "You did not do any of those in your pastoral ministry, especially seeking help for pastors."

I retorted that if "I am the expert on career change for pastors that Mr. Maxwell thinks I am, I could have written this formula for avoiding pastor burnout."

"Anyway" I told her, "after 30 years since becoming a pastor, I think that I am one of the world's greatest experts on pastor burnout, because I sure felt like quitting ministry many, many times."

Twisted Logic My Strong Suit

Next, I told my wife, now overwhelmed by my mesmerizing skills of deduction, that I should write what Mr. Maxwell quoted me as writing, so that he will have actual sources for his quote.

After all, his credibility is on the line. Maybe I should re-word it so that it doesn't look like he plagiarized my comments. Sometimes my logic amazes her when it comes to writing about career change.

"How could he plagiarize something you haven't even written yet?" was the next observation my wife made regarding this soon to be written article entitled "How To Avoid Pastor Burnout".

Being Quotable On Ministry Career Burnout

There, that should be quotable. I told my wife that "To Be Quotable On Ministry Career Burnout, You Need To Say What You Are Quoted To Say".

My wife still thinks all of this is a case of mistaken identity, perhaps written by one of those other Paul Slaters that I discovered in a recent Google search strategy session, like the Paul Slater on death row in Texas. (Now you know why I add the title Chaplain to my name.)

By the way, on his faith focused website, Chris Maxwell is a living illustration of how a pastor can change careers and still be on God's team.

After serving as a local church pastor for 19 years in Orlando, Florida, he too changed his career somewhat, becoming campus pastor of Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. While still a viable ministry career, it is outside the four walls of the local church.

He is an outstanding writer for LifeSprings Resources. His book, Changing My Mind, tells the lessons he learned through his battle with epilepsy.

My hope is that this article on how to avoid pastor burnout will cause those experiencing pastoral burnout to take another look at the concept of ministry career burnout.

By reframing the concept of leaving ministry to that of expanding ministry, I encourage you to view career change for pastors as a positive choice in fulfilling God's purpose for your career.

Give Christian Gifts of Encouragement
To Encourage Your Pastor

(FTC Guidelines state I must declare that advertisements on this site may earn me a commission, which of course, is the genius of internet marketing and how I support my internet ministry.)

For More Pastor Encouragement Ideas, Go To Chaplain Paul Slater's

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