What Happens When You’re Just Tired of Ministry

As I write this post, I’m tired – and when my body gets tired, my eyes struggle. They struggle so much, in fact, that it gets hard for me to see clearly. I think about this reality when I think of pastors who are just tired of opposition and apathy. When you’re just tired of it all . . .

  1. You struggle seeing the good things God is doing. All the negative stuff clouds out the positive.
  2. You fail to see the future with faith. It’s tough to see a great tomorrow when you’re just trying to get through today.
  3. You sometimes make bad decisions because you don’t see everything clearly enough. The “data” you have is fuzzy, and your conclusions are faulty.
  4. You see church leadership as a job to fulfill, not a privilege to live out. Sunday comes, and you have to do your job. Ministry becomes a burden rather than a joy.
  5. You see the “other grass” as greener than it is. That happens when you see your current grass as only brown. Everybody’s grass looks greener then.
  6. You don’t see your own sin. Your eyes turn to everybody else’s issues, and you fail to see your own spiritual issues.
  7. You miss people who are just waiting to help you. They’re there, but you can’t see them when you’re too tired to look around.  
  8. You can’t easily see what God is teaching you. He is teaching you something, but it’s hard to see it when your vision’s unclear.
  9. You don’t see what your discouragement does to your family. You bring your pain home, let it overshadow everything, and fail to see its effects on others.
  10. You need to rest your eyes more. Literally. We simply see things differently when our bodies and minds are rested.

What other results come to mind for you? 


  • David McBryar says:

    Great list Dr. Lawless and this is the reason that I think in the future more pastors are going to start asking for built in sabbaticals. A rested and energized pastor is much more effective to the church.

  • Bill Pitcher says:

    I agree. Great, and helpful list. I was reminded of the advice given me when I was a bit bummed out a year or so ago: “Success only means being faithful.” That helps to keep me focused.

  • Don Matthews says:

    I get excited because that is when I can let go can and let God do some of his greatest work. Sometimes my weaknesses is just God telling me to just relax and get out of the way. Sometimes it is an opportunity to allow someone else to minister to you.

  • Cynthia says:

    In my denomination sabbaticals are part of the norm, though I have seen some congregations irritated why the pastor leaves for 3 months and they have to pay for a supply. Too often on their return there are members who want something out of the pastor’s sabbatical rather than the joy of receiving a pastor refreshed and ready to lead again. At best sabbaticals built into budgeting and visioning for the future so the funds are there. Our judicatory also demands that the clergy have 2 days a week off made up of at least 24 continugous hours. This helps in the best of times, but doesn’t come to pass when the needs are greatest: a death, the dying, the divorcing, extra time necessary for preparing a couple for marriage that meets their time scheules too, etc. Sadly, when pastors tire the addictions rise such overeating, alcohol, pornography as Dr. Lawless has oft spoken of. The list is long as to what we think will re-energize ourselves. Temptation. Sleep and if can’t look for those around us who can help. Once again, thank you Dr. Lawless for a succinct, to-the-point listing.

  • Robin Jordan says:

    Please pray for the students and faculty/staff of Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky in the wake of the tragic shooting there earlier today. Details of the shooting may be found at https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/23/580030733/shooting-at-kentucky-high-school-leaves-2-dead-at-least-12-wounded. Benton is where my church is located.

  • terrydpowell says:

    I know that when you list “tired of ministry” you aren’t only talking about physical weariness. But I have observed in my life and in others in church ministry that when we are “spent” due to overwork, we’re more vulnerable to certain temptations. It is a time to be very wary of our enemy and it’s helpful to expect his fiery darts in such times. Thanks for your blogging ministry, Chuck. Terry Powell, CIU

  • Melissa says:

    Yes! My husband has been at this pastorates since September 2016 with no day off. He asked for some at the December 2017 budget meeting and was told he’d have to wait another year to “earn one.” It’s been rough on him and us – we’re all tired and trying to find joy in it.

  • Jim says:

    This is tough, especially since this is where I live right now. After I had served my church for 6 1/2 years, they decided to submit a petition for a called Business Meeting. When that LONG Business Meeting didn’t go the way some opposition had hoped, there was a lady standing outside our church doors two weeks later with a petition to give me my 69 days and send me on my way.

    This has been very painful, and I find myself tired. I also ask what God is doing, and why I can’t find ANY type of job right now. My family needs to eat, and we own our home. Yet, without a job, I’m not sure how I am supposed to make a house payment.

    I feel very demoralized, tired, and frustrated.

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