Would you be willing to tell your story of Christian ministry after burnout as a pastor or staff minister? Recently I wrote a post entitled Is There Life After Burnout for Pastors? According to the number of hits this story has received it would appear it is an issue of high interest.
Life after burnout for pastors is not just a hope or dream. It is a reality. Yet many pastors need some time and distance to tell their story of even the good side after burnout. Are you ready to tell yours? If so, I would like to hear or read it. I do not need your name unless you want to share it. I will not share your story unless you specifically give me formal and written permission to do so.
Let’s be clear, I am not asking you to tell your story of pain. The story I am interested in is the story of the joy of ministry following burnout. What new or renewed joy have you experienced since your burnout that reaffirms your call to ministry and celebrates that you are a person of worth created in the image of God to live and to love?
A Story on the Joy of Renewed Ministry
In the original post I referred to the literal burnout of my own father in the pulpit in the middle of a sermon when I was a teenager. It was an incident that significantly impacted our household for the next three years.
Let me tell you the rest of the story. Following his burnout and an appropriate beginning of his journey of healing, my father had 13 of his best and most fulfilling years in ministry. Six months after his public burnout, my parents and I moved to another state where he and mother served as a missionary couple in a state where our Baptist denomination had very few congregations.
Their role was to plant new congregations, nurture those already in existence, and develop a community or association of congregations who would collaborate around missional engagement in a regional setting. In their seven years there the number of congregations grew from seven to 29.
Following those years of service, my father moved on to be the executive leader for his Baptist denomination in a two state area. As he made that transition, he was elected for a one-year term to one of the three top national officer positions in our denomination.
When he retired, now 13 years following his public burnout, his sense of joy in ministry was as high as it had ever been. He only had one thing left to reach a joyful summit.
A major contributor to his burnout was that his last pastorate of more than 8 years had not been successful in terms of traditional measures of success. It had been significant in terms of many meaningful Christian ministry accomplishments, but it declined practically every year in membership and attendance. It was in a metropolitan transitional community, and the ministry methods he had used throughout his ministry did not work. He was distraught and did not know what to do to turn the congregation around numerically. In some ways he felt his ministry was incomplete since his last pastorate had been a failure in his mind.
He and my mother retired to their home state. Over the next six years my father was the long-term interim pastor of two congregations who were about to die. He stayed with each of them around three years.
That was three decades ago. Today both congregations are vital and vibrant. They renewed as congregations, and my father was renewed is his confidence that he could effectively and successfully lead congregations. He reached a joyful summit.
Would You Be Willing to Tell Your Story?
Let me offer three ways to tell your story. First, send an e-mail with your story to GBullard@TheColumbiaPartnership.org. Second, send an e-mail and indicate you would be willing to tell you story during a telephone conversation. Third, go to http://bullardjournal.blogs.com/bullardjournal_microblog/2013/07/absolutely-there-is-life-after-burnout-for-pastors.html and click the comment button below the post and type in your story. These comments will not be public, but will come only to me.
Is there life after burnout for pastors? Absolutely! Let’s hear your story of renewed joy in ministry.