Thom Rainer of LifeWay often offers insightful thoughts on pastoral leadership. His recent blog post 13 Signs of Leadership Fatigue he offers a few indicators of the early stages of burnout. The pastoral life is one that is demanding and at times isolated. It is easy for pastors to find themselves on the brink of burnout without realizing it.
Here is Thom’s list:
- Living by a “get me through the day” philosophy
- Losing vision
- Developing poor sleep patterns
- Declining spiritual disciplines
- Repeating lessons and sermons
- Faking joy and excitement
- Frustrating family members
- Magnifying minors
- Failing to return emails and phone calls
- Misdirecting affections.
- Decreasing exercise
- Focusing on a “grass is greener” syndrome
- Avoiding people who speak truth
One thing that really didn’t surprise me about this list is that it is that leadership fatigue has a wide effect on a person’s life. As you read this list you notice that like most issues, the consequences of burnout span the whole of a persons life. Pastor’s vocational, personal and spiritual lives are not compartmentalized.
Engaging a coach in your life before this dynamic is prevalent can have life changing results. Pastors may find themselves alone in the journey of leadership. A coach can be an advocate and champion for your long term health and wellness in ministry.
Likewise, if you find that your are already in the midst of the dark valley that is leadership burnout a coach can be a companion through the valley and out of fatigue. A vital coaching relationship empowers the client to dream about a positive solution to the concerns at hand. A coach lends strength and guidance as you explore how to transform the fatigue of ministry into a renewed vigor in a pastor’s sacred calling.
- Do you have any other “signs” of fatigue you would like to offer?
- What are some ways you address these signs?