Ministry leaders face certain unique risks that could disrupt their leadership role and even end their calling to shepherd God’s people. Here’s the bad news: Burnout ranks at the top of the list in most risk surveys. But there is good news—with proper precautions and appropriate disciplines the burnout risks are manageable and burnout is preventable.

Here are four helpful ways to manage the risk of ministry burnout.

1. Assess
Conduct periodic assessments of your vulnerability to burnout. Schedule these assessments on your calendar to force yourself to pause and take stock of your wellbeing. Take a minute and complete the burnout inventory included in this month’s PastorWell™ newsletter. If the inventory indicates you’re a candidate for burnout, seek help now before it’s too late. Full Strength Network’s approved group of counselors and coaches are on standby to support pastors, ministry leaders, and your family members. You can request help right from within your PastorWell™ membership account portal.

2. Accountability
Recruit an accountability partner or small team that you trust to help you manage your personal exposure to burnout and who will help you complete your periodic burnout assessment.

3. Early Warning Signs
Familiarize yourself with the risks and signs of burnout and, with the help of your accountability partner or team, customize an early warning system that alerts them and you to the fact that a downward spiral has begun.
Download the book At Full Strength: Navigating the Risks All Pastors Face that is included in your PastorWell™ membership and learn more about common risk factors and forces unique to ministry leaders.

4. Principles and Practices
A lead pastor burnout can easily set a church ministry back two or more years with the healing and recovery period. So reflect on and implement the leadership principles and practices of Jesus. Here’s a link to a recent Vanderbloemen Leadership Podcast featuring an interview with Pastor Tom Nelson. The first 12 minutes of the podcast covers a theology of burnout prevention that may inspire you to be more proactive in managing the risks of burnout.

Please don’t underestimate the damaging consequences of burnout. It saps your emotional, spiritual, and physical vitality. It can damage all the important relationships in your life and be especially hurtful to those you love and who love you the most. If you’re at risk, please seek help now!