“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Those words are quoted from the Emma Lazarus poem, New Colossus, inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty. While the original intent is to describe all who are welcomed by Lady Liberty, they may also sound like an apt description of a near-burnout pastor.
- Tired? Check
- Poor? Check
- Yearning to breathe free? Check
How is it that pastors, ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ, experience such stress? Didn’t Jesus say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30)?
Multitudes of statistical data point out the fact that pastoral burnout has become epidemic. Many reasons exist for such burnout:
- Many pastors feel isolated and fear sharing their problems with others.
- Some churches have unrealistic expectations for their pastor.
- The work of a pastor is never done.
- Many pastors believe they can never rest or take vacation for fear that someone will need them.
Perhaps pastors facing burnout feel like the prophet Elijah in I Kings 19. In the previous passage, He had just faced off with the prophets of Baal and watched God’s fire from Heaven consume the drenched sacrifices on Mount Carmel.
However, this action…Continue Reading