Are You Burnout Bound?
If you’ve never experienced burn out with your team before – just beware – it can happen to you!
The Message Bible translation of Romans 12:11 reads, “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.”
As a leader, you want to fuel a fire of excitement in your ministry team, but we all know what can happen if a fire burns too fast and furious – burn out! The last thing you want is to burn out your ministry team (or yourself) by trying to do too much or too soon.
So how can you keep the passion burning in your ministry without burning out? Think about this: a real fire needs three elements to stay burning – oxygen, fuel, and heat. Now let’s translate those three requirements into what it takes to maintain your ministry “fire.”
- Oxygen represents the correct environment.
- Fuel represents the passion that gets ignited in the team.
- Heat represents the product of your ministry – what is felt by the women who are touched by it.
With ministry teams, it’s usually not the fuel or heat that lead to burn out; it’s the oxygen – the environment the ministry fire burns in. As a leader, you are responsible for creating the right environment for the fire of your ministry team. But remember, either too much or too little oxygen will cause any fire to eventually burn out!
What are the Symptoms of Burn Out?
There needs to be enough “oxygen” to keep the ministry passion ignited in your team, which means creating an environment that is a safe place for women – a place where there is a low risk of them getting burnt out and hurt over time. Here are some symptoms of burn out to watch out for:
- Woundedness – “I feel hurt.”
- Frustration – “I can’t do it all!” or “Why doesn’t she do more?”
- Immobilization – “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”
- Deflated Self Esteem – “I’m not good enough.”
- Detachment from the Vision – “I can’t get excited about it anymore.”
You may recognize some of these feelings in a team member or perhaps in yourself. They’re usually the result of operating in an environment that can be hazardous to your ministry – and hurt your team members.
Here are a few potential causes of ministry burn out:
- Ineffective communication – too much, too little, too impersonal, or too confusing.
- Ineffective leadership – too dominant, too passive, or too disorganized.
- Ineffective delegation by the leadership – too much to do, too little to do, too disorganized to do, or the wrong person doing.
- Ineffective vision casting or lack of vision – “I see where we are going, why can’t anybody else see?” or “We’re lost! Does anybody know where we are going?”
- Unrealistic expectations of team members
It’s hard to confront the causes, but ignoring these types of symptoms won’t make them go away.
Help! I Think I’m Burning Out!
If you or your team is experiencing burn out or on the fringe of it…STOP. First, pray! Then take the time to ask and discuss these questions:
- Do I feel like my team listens to me, respects me, and genuinely values my input?
- Do I know what is expected of me in this ministry?
- Am I using my strengths and talents the majority of the time?
- Do each of us know the vision of the ministry and where we are headed?
- “We” or “me,” which do you find yourself using the most?
- Do I regularly give and receive recognition and encouragement?
Sharing honest answers to these questions can help you identify potential environmental hazards to your ministry to prevent future burn out of team members. You may discover that you need to regularly recast your vision, give clearer role expectations, or develop better ways to encourage and recognize the women who serve. Be aware of the symptoms and risks of burn out by investing time in assessing the environment of your ministry. Keep yourselves “fueled and aflame,” bound for greatness and displaying God’s glory – not a burnt out mess!
Copyright @2011 Group Publishing, Inc. group.com.