Everyone has felt burned out before. You know, the feeling that you’ve been running on fumes for weeks, and don’t even have that to give anymore? The feeling that everything will fall apart if you don’t keep your balls in the air and just stop juggling. That feeling just sucks the joy out of your soul. It makes it impossible to truly minister with God’s love and grace….because you just don’t have the energy. You have nothing to give the firstfruits of.
I think too often churches allow our pastors to get to that place. We are not careful enough to care for them, and see that their needs are met. We let them down. We, the church, can forget to be the hands and feet of Christ to them.
So, what do we do about it? How do we prevent this, or fix it if we see it’s become a problem?
1st, I think we need to let them know we see them. These men are people, just like you and I. He has his joys and his sorrows. We can acknowledge that he is here and he is seen as a man.
2nd, I think we need to minister to their families. That’s right. I think we need to be the hands and feet of Christ to his wife and children. Show them love and understanding. Don’t hold their kids to higher (sometimes impossible) standards than the other kids. Don’t expect his wife to be in the middle of everything….and if she chooses to, come alongside her and be kind.
3rd, I think we make sure the pastors have help. Whether the church has elders, deacons, or both….make sure the pastor isn’t carrying the burden of caring for the church alone.
4th, we need to allow the pastor time away from us. He needs time to himself, he needs time alone with his wife, he needs time with his family, he needs time with other pastors. Naturally, he wants to serve and love on the church he shepherds…..but sometimes he needs to fill other roles (like husband, father, comrade). Give him freedom to fill all the roles he has…including that of “child of God”.
There may be many other ways we can help our pastor. When he has his needs filled, and isn’t running on empty, he can give his firstfruits to God in service to the church. He can give *his* best to God as he serves.
How would you help your pastor to give his best?