Most of us who’ve been in ministry for any length of time have been there. Some days, the stress of ministry is too much—and we’ve had enough. If that’s where you are today, maybe one of these ideas will prove helpful to you.
- Quit ministry completely. I don’t typically recommend this choice, but it is an option. Sometimes you just lose any sense of hope that things will be better in any other ministry location. I pray the rest of these suggestions are more fruitful.
- At least be willing to ask, “What am I learning about myself here?” That’s not to suggest we should blame ourselves for the heartaches; rather, it’s to recognize that God sometimes uses heartache to show up our own heart. Don’t be afraid to do honest self-evaluation.
- Work with a trusted friend or counselor to re-evaluate your ministry calling. Reviewing and re-engaging our calling is often a good move in general. When we’re in the midst of the heartache of ministry, though, we need another set of eyes and ears to help us evaluate reality.
- Spend a few days fasting, reading, and praying. There’s nothing magical about fasting, but tough ministry experiences are often times when we need to long for God and His direction more than we long for food. Focus your attention fully on Him, and the struggles we face lose some of their force.
- Consider a different position in ministry. I’ve seen some guys who got burned as a senior pastor serve remarkably well in an associate position. Moving down the ladder of responsibility just one step can help alleviate some stress – or, changing a position can help you maximize your giftedness better.
- Ask for retreat or sabbatical time. Not every church will grant this request, but it never hurts to ask. A few days away (or even a couple of months of structured time to recover) can do wonders.
- Seek a ministry coach. Some of these commitments require a financial investment, but it might be worth it if you’re given opportunity to deal with realities with a safe friend in a safe place. Even a few months with a coach can help get you past some rough spots.
- Enlist somebody to do Bible study and prayer with you. Accountability is always important, but it’s especially significant when it’s tougher for us to see through the storm. Spending intentional time with God and another believer can change your perspective.
- Learn in God’s power to forgive. Forgiving others doesn’t let them off the hook for wrong and sinful treatment (in fact, it assumes some level of Christian confrontation), but it does allow us to let go of the burden of anger and bitterness we carry. Freedom from this burden can be life and ministry-transforming.
What other suggestions would you add?