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On a Sunday morning, thousands of people wake up to attend a Church service. These very people look for excellence when they enter the Church grounds. For those who are leaders in the Church understand the work that it takes just to make everyone comfortable for a couple of hours on Sunday.
From the parking lot ministry, to greeters, ushers, and up to the pulpit the responsibility is great.
When people attend Church they are looking for an escape from the real world so to those who are leaders in ministry, you must be on point every Sunday. Year after year there are Church leaders who experience burnout.
Yet, they never talk to the pastor about taking some time off from serving in Church. However, this can come from the leader not having someone shadow him so if the leader is experiencing burnout the one he trained can take his place.
When a Church leader is experiencing burnout coupled with finding out the pastor is human with flaws, this is the perfect formula for church hurt.
One thing most leaders (and the majority of the congregation) tend to forget the pastor is human, not Jesus Christ. When this takes place in our minds the pastor must be perfect at all times because he is the Overseer of the Flock right?
It’s easy for the pastor to look like Jesus because the congregation only sees him for an hour on Sunday.
The pastor looks good, smells good, knows The Bible like the back of his hand. He has men who listen to him and do as he commands. He also has enough charisma to make women cry. Who wouldn’t want to attend a church like that?
But Church leaders see a different side of the pastor.
Behind the scenes he can have an off day and say some things that aren’t in The Bible. His wife and himself can have a fall out and bring their argument to church and on a dime; they have to turn it off just to look Godly to you on a Sunday. If the pastor and the first lady aren’t getting along, how can the people expect to have a healthy marriage?
I was a part in building two mega ministries.
Back in the year 2000 in Cleveland and 2007 in Phoenix. During the time of serving these ministries I experienced some church hurt. Instead of leaving the church altogether, I just stepped down from leadership in both instances. Sure, some of the things that happened in church bothered me but I never bad mouthed the church to others.
This blog is in no disrespect to the church or pastor, I’m a church boy myself!
But I experienced church burnout and some hurt along the way. I once drank the cool aid and put my pastor on the throne instead of Jesus. I think Jesus let some of the Church leaders experience hurt so we can remember the one who died for our sins and rose again to give us a new life.
How Church Leaders Can Recover From Church Hurt
Remember the pastor is human
This isn’t to say the pastor can live any way he wants and then blame his humanity. I’m saying that he puts on his pants the same way you do. Yes, he is the pastor and you should respect his authority, but he has struggles just like you and me. He lives in this fallen world with the rest of us.
People you serve with will have off days
Have you been cursed out by an usher? Someone is down and not in the spirit? These things will happen from time to time. We tend to forget the pressures of everyday life can spill over into church. If we can extend grace to people and learn not to take everything personal, we can elude being hurt by others in the church.
If you are burned out, take the necessary time off
This is where it’s important to train up your successor. Most church leaders are afraid to do this because someone else might “take their place” or “they become a threat to their position.” When I served at a church in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio we trained more than one person to succeed us. When I stepped down from the ministry they never missed a beat because I already had leaders waiting in the wing.
Talk to a trusted friend who will understand where you are coming from
This helped me tremendously during my transition and recovery from church hurt. Having someone who can talk to you and process what you are feeling is like therapy. Notice I said a trusted friend, not someone who will gossip and make the situation worse. Talking to a trusted friend who experienced church hurt (and recovered) or served in the same ministry as you can help you see past some of the mistakes you made; so it won’t happen again if you decide to serve at another church ministry.
Listen to Who’s Running Your Church? With Jennifer Wainwright on Podcast!Buffer