Bi-Vocational Pastors: How to Avoid Living on the Edge

Kim Martinez photoAfter work, we changed clothes in the restroom and then ran through Taco Bell on our way to the church. Life as a bi-vocational pastor is a bit hectic.

If you aren’t careful, you could find yourself with a burnt out adrenal system, wondering if God stopped talking or if you took a wrong turn somehow.

Elijah knew what that felt like. Sitting on the side of the desert, alone and completely burned out, he asked God to kill him.

There are a lot of things we can do to help avoid burnout. However, when we reach the edge, there are a few things that we must do in order to keep up the crazy pace so we can impact the world God has called us to.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

When you are near the edge:

1. Be honest with God. Elijah didn’t sugar coat his feelings—he just told God, “I’m done.” However, he allowed the space for God to talk back and show him the way out.

2. Sleep. Elijah slept until his body was ready to move forward. Sleep is necessary for your daily functioning and your long-term health.

3. Eat right. Fast food on the run might be a short-term solution, but it won’t help your body stay healthy over time. The angel gave Elijah food that would sustain him. Your body needs certain nutrients and lots of water. It doesn’t need loads of sugar or fat. When you eat the right food, you give your body the fuel it needs to keep going.

4. Exercise. Elijah ran all the way to the mountain of God. This allowed his hormonal system to come back into balance, his brain to balance out and the stress from the last few days to work out of his system. Similarly, exercise will help your body handle the stress that you live under and keep your physical system in balance.

5. Run to God. There are times when we want to run away from God. We feel like we’ve had all we can take, or maybe we feel like we really messed up. When we're burned out, we need to run to God and continue our conversation with Him. This is particularly hard when we feel like God forgot we're on the planet. Elijah knew this feeling:

“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:14, NIV).

Bi-vocational ministers tend to be masters of time. Every moment you have is taken up. Elijah gives us a good example of how to handle stress and remain fruitful in every area of our lives.

God has called you to make a real difference in three places—His church, your family and your place of business. Where God guides, He provides, and He will give you everything you need to be the person, leader and minister your people, your family and your workplace needs.

Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a master's degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach and can be found online at She writes a weekly column for

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders