Divine Call/Education → Conflict/Badgering → Disillusionment/Burnout → Eventual Dropout
Many serious ministers have stepped out of their lane and quit running God’s race for their life because of this pattern.
A divine calling to church ministry gets responded to via enrollment in some form of Bible College, seminary, or ministerial training venue. That divine calling and subsequent education fuels the conviction that God is empowering the leader and that their ministry will change the world (or at least a city or a neighborhood).
However, almost immediately after embarking on a new ministry endeavor the minister encounters conflict and badgering. Some of it comes from direct and outright spiritual warfare, while much of it comes from spiritual warfare hidden inside human misunderstandings, failures, hurt feelings, hard-heartedness, and offense.
If the conflict and badgering continues unabated for too long, the once-eager minister will lose the wonder of their ministry calling and will eventually burnout. Prolonged states of burnout inevitably lead to a dropping out of the race.
Some of these ministers make a recovery and return to Christian service, but others of them never do. The scars of the pattern just go too deep.
Rather than following this pattern and hoping for the best, what are some steps to ensure that we sidestep burnout, hold onto our wonder, and finish our Christian race well?
Here are two (taken from a clergy gathering with Pastor Jack Hayford):
- Walk softly before God, like a barefoot Moses in Sinai.
- Engage in life-long, continuing education.
Leaders who survive for the long haul engage in the twin pursuits of cultivating deep interior lives and robust intellectual lives. Humble, adoring devotion to God, and intentional life-long education and training are keys to developing leadership that lasts.
Our hour of history calls for humble leaders, devoted followers of Jesus Christ, who get the help they need so they can make it for the long haul. Let’s heal those leaders and be those leaders!