Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Burned out
Have you experienced any of these signs of burnout? (Lightstock)

I’ve been there. I’ve faced burnout and frustration in my work.

Thankfully, I’ve never bottomed out, but I’ve felt near the bottom in my spirit. More than that, I’ve walked through these times with dozens of other leaders. 

I’ve learned there are some common indicators that a leader is heading toward burnout. The sooner we can recognize them, the sooner we know to reach out for help. 

Here are seven indicators you’re heading for burnout:

1. Isolation. When the leader begins to avoid others, something is wrong. Leadership involves people. Not all leaders are overly communicative, but when the leader tries to avoid people who need the leader’s attention, something is wrong. Some leaders begin to question people around them. They struggle with mistrust or fear that others are talking about them, questioning them or out to get them. 

2. Excuses. When the leader always has an answer why he or she was late, blames others for everything or can’t see his or her own shortcomings, they are struggling with something. It may be burnout.  

3. Hidden sins. Many people hide in their sins, but burnout causes secret, deep sins. These are often new vices hidden from people who normally know you. The person who never drank before is now drinking often. Someone who never struggled with pornography before suddenly can’t avoid it … and justifies it as a “release.” 

4. Apathy. When you don’t care anymore. And you don’t really care that you don’t care anymore. 

5. Indecisiveness. This is about paralysis and a refusal to make decisions. The person in this condition feels like every decision is a major one. And there are seem to be so many, they make none.

6. Short-tempered. Normally easy-going people often become shorter fused when under extreme pressure. 

7. Desperation. When every day seems to be a panic day, beware. The leader is in a danger zone. There will be seasons of this in all of our lives, but we can’t live there long. We need periods of calm in our leadership. If the leader always feels this way, something is wrong. 

Granted, all of these may be indicators of other problems, but, in my experience, they are good signs of a potential crash. 

Be careful. If a few of these describe you, regardless of how you label it, now is the time to get help. Now.

(After several requests, I’ll share some ideas of where to get help in a future post, but depending on the severity, if you’re seriously about to give up, grab the closest person to you. Be vulnerable.)

Ron Edmondson is a church planter and pastor with a heart for strategy, leadership and marketing, especially geared toward developing churches and growing and improving the kingdom of God.

For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.

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