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Vantage point


Church burnout

 

I’m privileged, as a valued part of my job, to be in many churches where God is moving — in the United States and in other countries.

As a former pastor I have been interested in the common elements that seem to characterize truly successful churches. One of the characteristics on my list is this: A successful church hums with life.

But this is not a church growth article. I mention that particular characteristic here in the way of a caution. It is clear that where there is vibrant spiritual life in a body of believers, the hum of activity will accompany that life. But this aspect alone does not mean a church is successful. Sometimes programs can get in the way of passion — or be mistaken for it.

I believe churches can have activity gluts. It’s possible to have too many activities.

Activity gluts can cause church burnout … in pastors as well as members.

It should be a goal to be at all regular Sunday and midweek services. But it should not be a goal to be at something every night of the week.

Successful churches inevitably and rightly have lots of activities. The way to avoid church burnout is to have reasonable expectations, and get people involved in those ministries that are most relevant to them or for which they are gifted.

Man is not made for activities, but activities for man. The goal of having programs in the church is not to fill up the calendar. The true meaning of “service” is not a meeting, but serving … both God and man.

Churches will have healthier pastors if they do not expect them to be at everything. And the same goes for members. Being at the right activities is what’s important. In the long run, the church will benefit because there will be less church burnout.

Ken Horn

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