While I love my ministry job and my church, I am becoming increasingly “burned out” and depressed with what I do. Currently our church is having some pretty major financial difficulties, which makes this a good opportunity for me to resign.
I have always felt a unique calling on my life to serve with some sort of humanitarian organization. I see ministries like Feed the Children, Samaritans Purse, Hope for Haiti, Hello Somebody, and Sevenly and I have such a strong desire to do what they are doing. I know that you have very unique ministry, so I am hoping that you could offer me a little bit of advice about how I could begin a new career with an organization like those that I have mentioned.
There are really two questions here:
- Should I resign from my current church?
- How do I begin a new career with a humanitarian organization?
I will answer the 1st now and the 2nd tomorrow (click to read it).
#1 :: Should I resign from my current church?
Pray. Pray hard.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This requires a delicate answer, and no one can truly answer it except for you and the Holy Spirit. Understand that you are not alone. Many ministers feel burned out. Many ministers are depressed. Many nonprofits are having major financial difficulties.
Don’t leave because it is tough (unless God tells you to go).
The pursuit of the Great Commission when done right is never easy. There will be many trials, but we are to be joyful about these challenges because they test our faith and mature us (James 1:2-4).
Don’t leave if the burnout is because of you doing too much (unless God tells you to go).
However, realize that the pursuit of the Great Commission when done right will not produce burn out and depression. Burn out is what happens when you give of yourself more than you fill yourself with the spiritual refreshment of a relationship with God (i.e., personal prayer, Bible study, and worship – not work related). This burnout may be from trying to do too much in your own strength rather than trusting God to show up. This burn out may be caused by you overcomplicating God’s calling for you by adding too many details, tasks, and requirements. If this is the case, cut programs and any of the fluff that is not Biblically essential to your mission, do you best, and trust God to show up.
Leave if the source of the burnout is out of your control (unless God tells you to stay)
Unfortunately, burn out sometimes is caused from abusive relationships from church leadership or from self-destructive management systems. If this is the case and you have tried to mend the relationships or repair the systems to no avail, your effectiveness in ministry may be quenched by leadership above you. Ideally, you leave as soon as possible. However, sometimes God calls people to challenging circumstances like this for a variety of reasons. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit amidst the frustrations.
Leave if the burnout is because you are called elsewhere
You mention feeling called to serve a humanitarian organization. Is it a passion, a romanticized dream, or a calling? If a calling, is the timing now or in the future? If now, then your burnout may be because you are not supposed to be working at the church. Pray hard about this. If you have to, cut distractions out of your life to heighten your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
There are many more possibilities that could be written, but I do not want to distract from the most important thing – pray and follow Gods leading.
I will answer the second question tomorrow.
How would you answer this first question? Leave a comment to help Anonymous out.
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