Due to the unique circumstances of the past two years, many pastors have faced or are facing burnout. If that’s you today, there is hope. 

Just like your car, we each have an “energy tank.” We constantly go from draining that tank to filling it up. And no one likes to run out of gas. It can be dangerous, particularly when we run out of gas on a major highway. The same is true in our ministries. Burnout can be dangerous. To fight against it, we need to keep our energy tanks full.

Jesus says it like this in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV).

Jesus’ words give us four steps we can take to keep our emotional tank filled up.

1. Get fed up (with the current state of your life).

If you…

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If you are reading this article then most likely you have a passion, burden or possibly a curiosity about mental health and the role the church can play in effectively caring for those affected by a mental health disorder.

The following are a few reasons why I got involved and took action to launch mental health groups at our church.

1. I Needed It!

My wife and I have been in ministry almost 30 years, serving in several different pastoral roles. However, we never imagined that we would be serving in our current role at our church now. We are the Restoration Life Group Pastors at New Life Church in Little Rock, AR, overseeing small groups for individuals impacted by mental health, addiction, grief, abuse, or trauma.

“When we were experiencing those dark times over and over again without any end in sight, it began to drain us.”

My wife grew up in a family that was impacted by addiction and—unknowingly—mental health disorders. Little did we know that we would walk a dark and lonely journey for many years in our own family. Approximately four years ago, it…

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Your biggest enemy probably isn’t who you think it is. It’s not Satan, and it’s not the world around you. Your biggest enemy is you

The battle inside of us will destroy our ministries if we let it. Paul says this of himself, “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15 GNT). If you’re honest, you’ll agree with that statement. 

I’ve found that there are seven weapons of self destruction that ruin more lives than anything else: shame, uncontrolled thoughts, compulsions, fear, hopelessness, bitterness, and insecurity. 

Ministry doesn’t make us immune to these self-destructive behaviors.

But the answer isn’t found in modern culture or in a book. It’s found in a person—Jesus. In Romans 7-8, we find seven habits that will help set us free from these self-destructive tendencies.

1. Remind ourselves daily of what Jesus did for us.

Many of us are saved, but we don’t act like it. Instead, we’re filled with shame, uncontrolled thoughts, and compulsions. We’re not…

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There are four ways you can reach an unknown destination. 

You can go by trial and error, where you don’t make a change until it’s obvious you’ve gone the wrong way. You can also use a map and see the entire plan ahead of time before you get started. Or you can use a compass to find your destination. 

But the best way to reach your destination is to get a personal guide. And followers of Jesus have the best guide—God! He leads you through decisions, knowing beforehand where you are and where you are going. He walks with you every step of the way.

The Bible says that God gives us the Holy Spirit to be our guide. Jesus tells us in John 16:13, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (NIV).

So how does the Holy Spirit guide us as we make important decisions? The Bible gives us nine principles for guidance as we seek God’s direction in our lives.

1. Relax.

Many people think God’s will is…

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God’s goal for our lives isn’t for us to be happy. It’s for us to grow in spiritual maturity. 

Happiness comes from holiness. You’ll be happy for trillions and trillions of years when you get to heaven. But right now, you’re in the growing stage. And God is much more interested in your character than your comfort. 

How does God grow you? Through tests. It’s like when you work out in a gym, where you test your muscles by lifting weights. The more you test your muscles, the more your muscles grow.

God builds your character in a similar way. But the tests that God gives you examine many areas in your life, such as your character and patience.

James describes it like this: “When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4 NLT).

The Bible tells…

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“Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.”

Hebrews 12:15 (TLB)

Nothing destroys a relationship faster than resentment. 

We hurt each other in relationships, sometimes intentionally and often unintentionally. Either way, the result is conflict and hurt feelings. It’s a fact of life. What you do with that hurt determines whether you’re joyful or miserable. 

You’ve probably heard someone say, “I just don’t love him anymore. I just don’t have any feelings for her anymore.” That’s a sign that resentment is involved because resentment eats up emotional energy. You resent the fact that they hurt you, and eventually you have no emotional energy left and feel empty inside. Resentment says, “I won’t forgive you.” Resentment is a killjoy in relationships. 

You may feel cheated in a relationship. You’re thinking, “This is not what I expected.” The fact is that any relationship, including marriage, is built on two very imperfect people trying to work on issues together. If you expect perfection and don’t work on your unrealistic expectations, you’re…

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By Sylvia

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus, who struggles with co-dependency, pride, and food issues, and my name is Sylvia.

I grew up in church with a mom who was the piano player, so we were there if the church was open. My biological father had left when I was very young, and although I didn’t realize it growing up, I had abandonment issues and used a variety of things like food and men to fill a void left by his absence. I always felt like I was a Christian, but I didn’t always make choices that reflected Jesus in me, and I didn’t have a personal relationship with him. I had many friends and was always social, but inside I was lonely and hurting, especially after my mom passed away when I was 24. I had cared for her during her last year and knew she needed to be released from her suffering, but it was incredibly hard to lose the person I loved most when I was young and felt alone and, in a way, abandoned again. I moved to Northwest Arkansas a few years later and immediately met my…

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By Sylvia Chesser, Celebration Place Director of Celebrate Recovery

I grow vegetables as a hobby. I get such joy watching how each variety develops in its own way. And I love being outside with God in the early morning, quietly pruning, weeding, praying, and harvesting the fruits he gives our family.

As much as I like being alone out there, I need help getting the garden started and cleaned up each year. I am so grateful that my husband always helps with the tilling and turning of the soil.

“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15 NLT).

As I tend my garden, I must make sure that non-beneficial insects are removed before they destroy the plants.

A tomato hornworm starts out tiny but eats through the leaves quickly before moving on to the fruit, and it grows each day significantly.

If you don’t notice and pull it off, one worm can destroy a whole plant in a couple of days.

Similarly, this can happen in our lives if we don’t notice little things like pride, envy, and anger when they first appear in our hearts. If…

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God has wired me in such a way that I like to watch things grow. He’s given me a passion for gardening. And every gardener knows that if you don’t have changes in seasons, your plants will not make it. You need seasonal changes in order for plants to grow.  

The same is true in your life. You need to experience various seasons in order to mature and grow.  

In fact, you’ll go through many seasons in your life. You’ll experience joyous seasons, like a new marriage, a new ministry, or a new child. And you’ll experience tough ones too, like when you are grieving, experience a job loss, or struggle with a new family dynamic.

But here’s the good news: God wants to use every one of the seasons you’re in for your good. 

From my personal experience, the following four questions will help you make the most of every season:

1. What can I learn?

We can only learn certain things through experience. Deuteronomy 11:2 tells us, “Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him”Continue Reading

Pastor, do you realize that there’s only one holiday we celebrate at the break of dawn?

It’s Easter. 

It’s the day when, at dawn of a brand-new day, the world first heard the news that God had raised Jesus from the dead. Easter morning changed everything

Because of the events of Easter, the people you’re trying to reach this weekend can have a brand-new start in their lives. It’s all because of God’s mercy.

Zechariah said in Luke 1:78, “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us” (NLT).

The problem is, most people don’t understand the mercy of God. They are afraid of God and avoid him as a result. Yet they desperately need his mercy.

This Easter, as you minister in your context, reflect on the following reasons people come to your church looking for God’s mercy—and what God’s mercy can do in their lives.

1. We need God’s mercy when we’ve messed up.

No one is perfect. Romans 3:23 says, “Everyone has sinned…

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As a pastor, you likely spend most of your day talking about God, reading about God, and thinking about God. 

But if I asked you, “Where is God?” how would you respond?

I know you understand the theologically right answer. But have you internalized how Psalm 139 answers that question?

“Where could I go to escape from your Spirit or from your sight? If I were to climb up to the highest heavens, you would be there. If I were to dig down to the world of the dead you would also be there. Suppose I had wings like the dawning day and flew across the ocean. Even then your powerful arm would guide and protect me” (Psalm 139:7-10 CEV).

It’s mind boggling for me to think that God never has to go anywhere because he’s already there. 

But God’s omnipresence isn’t just a theological construct; it has a powerful application to how you, as a pastor, deal with the most difficult experiences of life. 

When you recognize that God is with you wherever you go, his presence will…

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I know many church leaders who struggle with time management. But the good news is, it’s something you can learn. 

You might think that some people are just naturally good at managing their time. But that’s not true. 

The Bible tells us that time management can be taught. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should” (TLB).

If you’re struggling to get your time under control, follow these four steps from Paul to help you manage your time and make your life more effective:

  1. Analyze your lifestyle. “Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)” (Ephesians 5:15 AMPC).

Paul tells us to have an objective and to manage our lives in a way that helps us achieve that goal. He urges us to be purpose driven. 

The starting point to a life of purpose, Paul says, is to

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