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When You Lose the Joy of Ministry

If you have been in ministry for any length of time, you know that it can feel like a burden from time to time. If it consistently feels like a burden, and you often feel dread towards ministry in general, I would encourage you to stop reading this post and go get help immediately before it's too late. However, for those who have lost of the joy and motivation towards ministry, let me share a few thoughts with you today:

First, I want you to know that you are not alone in this, even the great ones have felt like this from time to time! Take Elijah for example, who was coming off one of his greatest victories in his ministry, and in the next moment, He is wanting to die (1 Kings 19). He let the joy in ministry practically overnight. Can you relate to that feeling? Elijah is just one example, but the Bible gives several examples of those who encountered rough patches in ministry. The good news is that you are not alone in your feelings. The Scriptures are clear that others have wrestled with this and have overcomes this obstacle in their ministries, and these stories provide insight to us on how to gain joy again in ministry. Check out a few stories from Biblical heroes and see how they went through the same struggles that we do.

Second, if you are feeling like your joy towards ministry is gone, I would encourage you to take an honest evaluation of your personal habits and your weekly schedule. Many years ago, I reached a point of burn out while serving as a church planter/senior pastor in CA. I was tired emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Looking back on that season and evaluating how I got there in the first place, I realized that I let my situation and other people dictate my week’s schedule. I was working a full time job, our church was growing and building a new meeting place, and I had little kids at home. It was a busy season, and I was no longer taking time to rest, to grow personally, to honor the Sabbath, to meeting with my mentor, etc. The schedule was too full, the demands were too great, and my habits could no longer support the crazy lifestyle I was living. Reaching burn out was only a matter of time, and you may feel like you’re in this place as well. Today, I pray that you STOP for a minute and evaluate your personal habits. Are you taking time to rest? Are you investing into your family? Is your personal growth a priority? Have you continued to meet with a mentor/counselor/coach? The most important question out of all of these is “who is dictating your schedule?”

Finally, no matter where you are at in ministry, I want you to know that there are resources available to help you. When I was going through my personal burn out season, I felt very alone and believed that I was destined to live out of this emptiness. The enemy took advantage of those thoughts and convinced me that I could never live out a better lifestyle. He would say things like, "it's never going to get any better!, "You will always be tired!", or "You are bound to fail!". The taunts and lies kept coming and overwhelmed my thought processes. One day, the head of our board at the church I pastored came up to me and said, “We are going to give you some time off and get you help.” As the words rolled of his tongue, hope filled my soul. As I started on a sabbatical rest, I started to look into resources that were available and found many resources available to help me rest, recover, and address the pain in my soul. If you need help identifying them, don't hesitate to ask. I would be honored to be there for you in your time of need!

I want to leave you with this thought: There is hope for you today, and you can live a better, healthier lifestyle while working in ministry. If you are feeling unmotivated and burnt out, lean into the loving arms of Jesus. He will comfort your heart, refresh your soul, and connect you with all the right resources to bring inner healing. Lastly, I f you need a friend in your corner, we are here to support you! Remember, ministry burn out is a choice, so choose wisely!

For more ministry resources, visit our Minister's Friend page or join our Minister's Friend group on Facebook. You can also follow us on Instagram or Facebook at @authenticchurchtn.


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