“I was burned out and didn’t know it,” lead pastor Ken Baugh recalls. It happens to so many pastors and other leaders and caregivers—but it doesn’t have to be your story.
“I was so depleted of my own energy that I had just enough to get from weekend to weekend… I came to the point where I just hit the wall.”
That’s how my friend Ken begins my video interview “Reconciling a Pastor and Elder Board” with him and the chair of his church elder board (from 2017). It’s a story we hear over and over.
When your soul gets over-stressed it affects the people around you. In Ken’s case it leaked out in a church programming meeting, “I had nothing. I had no ability to be creative. I was just locked up. That had never happened to me before… I was having an anxiety attack.”
The church elders got involved. “Things were broken and they needed to be fixed,” the elder explained. So they “put Ken on Sabbatical” and they met with him in a series of board meetings.
But Ken didn’t feel he was being given rest, he felt he was being disciplined. He’d lost his pulpit. He’d lost his voice as leader of the church. He felt judged, rejected, and publicly shamed.
Ken told his former elder, “I was locked up in fear and defensiveness and anger, feeling paralyzed and having no voice, no say, and I didn’t give a rip as to how you guys felt at that time. I was just trying to protect myself and my family.”
The elder replied, “We had different perspectives… It was broken… My priority at that point was not, ‘How is Ken doing?’ Always I care for Ken… but we have problems. We have to fix this.”
It wasn’t long before Ken lost his pastorate.
Even though he had no moral failing. Even though he was respected for his Christlike character, especially by his wife, children, and friends who knew him best. Even though he had a twenty-year track record as a successful megachurch pastor.
Burnout doesn’t have to sneak up on you. That’s why we’re offering “Re-Soul” in this new series of blogs, podcasts, and social media posts.
The best time to re-soul is before you feel burned out. (“Re-soul” is the literal meaning of the Hebrew word “refreshed” in 2 Samuel 16:14.) We can follow David’s example who continually “strengthened himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6).
Follow our “Re-Soul” series as we help you prevent five hidden causes of ministry burnout. If you’re a pastor, we’re especially talking to you. In whatever role you minister or work as a Christian we’ll be helping you to re-soul too!
Pastors, check out our “Sabbatical Guide for Pastors.”
Listen to this week’s SoulTalk: All of us struggle with feeling tired and discouraged. To prevent burnout, we must be proactive and intentional. In this new series, Bill and Kristi will uncover five hidden culprits that lead to burnout along with practices to experience renewal in Christ. They’ll share strong and helpful insight into refreshing your soul in God’s presence. Learn to confidently step towards soul care with God so that you can protect your investments in your ministry, leadership, and family.