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← Pastoral Burnout: Dangers and Encouragements - Mack Tomlinson

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Showing Revision 1 created 05/19/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. James: You maybe already answered this,
  2. but has there been a season
  3. in which you've struggled
  4. with being burned out as a pastor?
  5. And if so, what helped you
  6. to get out of that season?
  7. Mack: Well, in the last 18 years

  8. of pastoring in the same church,
  9. I don't think I've had burnout.
  10. What I would call that:
  11. seasons of discouragement,
  12. seasons of weariness, tiredness.
  13. But we have to learn to pace ourselves.
  14. We have to learn to intentionally rest.
  15. Renew ourselves.
  16. Step aside and rest awhile
  17. as Jesus told His disciples.
  18. And I think what's helped me to avoid
  19. sinking into times like that
  20. is being intentional about times of rest,
  21. times of going to a lake house
  22. three days with my wife.
  23. And literally doing nothing.
  24. No agenda. No schedule.
  25. No social media.
  26. Reading my Bible.
  27. Taking a nap.
  28. Being with her.
  29. Sitting on the back porch
    looking at the lake.
  30. No schedule.
  31. Just unwind.
  32. I have a pastor friend of mine

  33. who after 40 years of ministry one day,
  34. his body literally shut down.
  35. He was used to preaching and teaching
  36. six times a week.
  37. He ran five miles every day.
  38. He was athletic.
  39. And one day his body shut down
  40. and he had a breakdown.
  41. And what was determined ultimately
  42. was the ministry, the teaching,
  43. the lack of breaks -
  44. his body could not continue
  45. to go on the adrenaline physically.
  46. The adrenaline needed to preach
  47. and be before people.
  48. It was overload.
  49. His body finally said:
  50. I can't take anymore. I'm stopping.
  51. (incomplete thought)
  52. And he recovered, but he had to stop
  53. doing 40% of what he had been doing.
  54. John Piper said we have to pay
  55. our debts to our body.
  56. And so we have to know ourselves.
  57. We have to intentionally plan time off.
  58. Vacations are a spiritual thing.
  59. They're spiritual.
  60. To get away, there's all kinds of effects,
  61. spiritually, emotionally,
  62. mentally, physically,
  63. socially.
  64. We've got to have that change
  65. to disconnect and reboot.
  66. And so that's what I've learned.
  67. We renew our strength that way.
  68. And it's actually a spiritual thing
  69. because it enables us to have longevity
  70. of fruitful ministry more.
  71. James: Have there been any other pastors

  72. who you've known
  73. who have gotten burned out
  74. in the pastoral ministry
  75. and they never got back into it?
  76. And if so, what was going on there?
  77. Mack: I have several close friends

  78. over the years,
  79. that that very thing happened to them.
  80. In their cases,
  81. they were pastoring churches -
  82. these were very good men,
  83. sound men, good preachers,
  84. real pastor's hearts.
  85. They weren't hirelings.
  86. And their churches treated them wrong
  87. or put pressure on them wrong
  88. or were demanding too much of them.
  89. And they began to burn out.
  90. And/or they were forced
    out of their church
  91. because they weren't producing enough.
  92. And the power players in the church
  93. were controlling things
  94. which is obviously very unbiblical.
  95. Your church government
  96. and what kind of leadership you have
  97. will control that issue.
  98. Because when you have
  99. a plurality in ministry
  100. and a team of elders
  101. and a team of deacons that serve
  102. at the pleasure of the elders,
  103. a couple of couples can't resist a team
  104. and try to attack them.
  105. But anyway, I saw these friends
  106. have to leave pastoring.
  107. They were wounded, discouraged,
  108. and then they're at this crossroads.
  109. Can I take it again?
  110. I'm too hurt. I can't do it now again.
  111. But they have children.
  112. They take a job.
  113. They settle in to raising a family,
  114. providing.
  115. And they get settled where they are.
  116. And then they get to be 40 years old,
  117. 50 even,
  118. and they're settled in their career.
  119. And I'm sure the calling of God
  120. is still on them.
  121. But they can't find a way back.
  122. They don't feel like, for whatever reason,
  123. they can stop everything,
  124. start all over again.
  125. Will the same thing happen to us
  126. that happened before?
  127. I couldn't take it again.
  128. And maybe they don't feel like
  129. they could plant a church.
  130. So they never pastor again.
  131. And it's really sad to me
  132. because the burnout got them.
  133. James: And there's not enough good men

  134. out there as it is.
  135. Mack: I mean, I would say

  136. to any brother like that
  137. who's got a pastor's heart
  138. and was in ministry,
  139. and he's not anymore,
  140. and he's trying to be faithful,
  141. but the nagging is there,
  142. and he knows the gifts and callings of God
  143. are without repentance.
  144. If I was ever called to preach the Gospel,
  145. and I haven't disqualified myself
  146. through sin,
  147. am I not still called?
  148. Lord, I'm willing.
  149. Show me what You want.
  150. James: What have been your
    greatest encouragements as a pastor?

  151. Mack: For me, I think,

  152. as pastors and preachers,
  153. we're first Christians.
  154. And we need fellowship.
  155. And it's easy for preachers
  156. to be in the preaching mode
  157. and not maintain real fellowship
  158. just as Christians.
  159. And so maintaining real fellowship,
  160. being with brothers,
  161. sitting under preaching that feeds me,
  162. doing the things that I need to do
  163. as a Christian
  164. to stay encouraged and grow,
  165. never mind being a preacher.
  166. Those are the things that have
    encouraged me the most -
  167. to be with the brethren,
  168. and be stirred up.
  169. And I think even more specifically,
  170. to pray with brothers.
  171. There's something about praying
  172. with another brother in your church
  173. or a fellow pastor
  174. or a brother in the
    Lord that likes to pray.
  175. Praying with them
  176. always is a real encouragement to me.
  177. So those things are basic things,
  178. but the things God uses
  179. to bring encouragement into our lives
  180. are the basic things:
  181. His Word, true fellowship,
  182. and keeping myself
    under edifying preaching
  183. that feeds my heart.
  184. You know, at this point in my life,
  185. I'm not interested in intellectual,
  186. high theology preaching
  187. that just feeds my mind
  188. or just gives me information.
  189. I want something that will stir my heart,
  190. that will stir my love for Christ,
  191. that preaches to my conscience,
  192. my affections,
  193. and really brings me in touch with God.
  194. And automatically, encouragement comes.
  195. Along that line of encouragements,

  196. one of the biggest means
  197. of encouragement in my life,
  198. to stir me, to refresh me,
  199. to encourage me,
  200. to inspire me,
  201. really has probably just been
  202. the regular reading of Christian biography
  203. and the lives of the saints in the past.
  204. Because you see how God worked
  205. in their lives when they were sinful,
  206. when they were needy;
  207. how He shaped their lives,
  208. and equipped them;
  209. how He kept them and provided for them;
  210. how He used them.
  211. And reading the lives
    of saints from the past
  212. is just a huge inspiration.
  213. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says
  214. reading Christian biography
  215. was the biggest tonic for his soul.
  216. He'd be refreshed so much.
  217. And that's been the case with me too.
  218. Only when you do it and experience it
  219. does the reality and the fragrance
  220. of another Christian's walk
  221. in what they experience
  222. becomes communicated to you.
  223. It becomes incarnational.
  224. And you see, man, his life
  225. is such an inspiration to me.
  226. And you go away longing to be that way.
  227. And you go away with new lessons
  228. of: I could do that that he did.
  229. I hadn't thought about that, you know.
  230. And you're adding to your faith
  231. and you're growing.
  232. So it really is true.