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Ministerial Burnout

18/09/2011

‘The history of the church is strewn with the wreckage of ruined ministerial lives’

It’s true. I’m hearing more and more of men whom God called into ministerial service who have had to step aside because of burn-out, stress, physical illness brought on by the pressures imposed by service in a pastoral situation. It seems as if caring for the souls of others in this modern age is devastating to the health of the pastor, as if modern attitudes and values have made shepherding God’s flock a more onerous and difficult task than ever before.

Yet in the early church, Paul saw fit to warn Timothy of the dangers. He wrote,

‘Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching’. 1st Tim 4:16.

Timothy was to look after himself, if he was to properly care for God’s church. Pastors must watch their lives and watch their testimonies, but they must also watch their health, and watch their families and watch their finances. They must do so diligently, and be aware of potential difficulties, and deal with them.

And they must keep a close watch on what Paul describes as ‘The Teaching’. The content of doctrine contained in their sermons, their prayers and devotions and their conversation, must be constantly under close scrutiny, (by themselves) to make sure that what they are teaching is clear and unambiguous and faithful and true, and that it is actually the Good News.

Both of these imperatives are necessary if the pastor is to spiritually benefit himself and those who listen to him.

Paul concludes, ‘Persist in this, for in so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers’.

From → Editorial

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