Ministry Burnout

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Ministry Burnout is a state of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional exhaustion caused by extended and intense levels of stress, causing the body to over-produce adrenaline. It leads to the questioning of one's abilities and/or the value of one's work.

13% of active pastors are divorced.
23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.
25% don't know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
25% of pastors' wives see their husband's work schedule as a source of conflict.
33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
45% of pastors' wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.
45% of pastors say that they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family's well-being and health.
56% of pastors' wives say that they have no close friends.
57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do.
70% don't have any close friends.
75% report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear, and alienation.
80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
90% feel unqualified or poorly prepared for ministry.
90% work more than 50 hours a week.
94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.
1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.

This is clearly a serious problem. What did the early Church do that the Modern Church maybe missing. These statistics are due to a number of causes.

One is the structure of the modern Church is not that of the early Church.
  • The early church was a network of ministers where each minister served ten families.
  • The early purpose of the Church were for greater and more comprehensive than the modern Church.
  • The early Church were health, education, and welfare for their congregation and part of a clerical network that provided the service for the whole body of the Church.
  • The early church was providing these services on an intimate level for a small group and had a built in network of fellow ministers who were going through the same problems.

So the early Church was doing more and often under persecution and they do not seem to have a big problem with Ministry Burnout.

Ministerial support was built into the early Church structure.
  • Each minister was also in a congregation of ministers dealing with the same problems that each other minister was facing.
  • Each ministerial congregation had an experienced minister who was in contact with other experienced ministers who not only deal with the same problems but deal with many ministers going through the same things.
  • The early church was a network of team groups that were independent cells with intimate relationships.
The purpose of the Church was fruitful.
  • The early Church saw people physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually helped.
  • Minsters were needed on every level of life and they could effect real help and assistance in the real word and see the results.
  • Modern ministers are often only trying to help people feel better. They are often there to be emotionally dumped on but are not actually bringing the people together in real ways that creates relationship that last through generations.

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