One of the hardest things to do for most lead pastors is to separate from work. Pivoting from their professional life to their private life.
A Barna research study of 14,000 U.S. lead pastors, published in January 2017, reported that 37% of lead pastors are at medium to high risk of burnout. 40% are not energized by ministry work. Barna 2020: 50% of pastors were suffering with depression.
Many of the moral failures by pastors we read about (and those that never make the news) can be traced to exhaustion. One of the key contributors to this mess? Failure to pivot.
Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus invites us to pivot. The question: How do we work hard, how do we fulfill our calling, without running ourselves into the ground? We learn how to pivot. Here are four ideas that will help:
1. Clock out at a reasonable time every day
“And then there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” ~ Gen.1:5.
2. Protect your weekly day off
After completing the work of creation, God rested on the 7th day. Protect your day off like your life depends on it, because in many ways it does.
3, Walk by faith
Pastoring is a faith venture. In Hebrews 11, we’re told that without faith, it’s impossible to please God. It requires faith to pivot.
4. Learn how to play
Some pastors think, “Who has time for such trivial pursuits?” While that may sound noble, here’s the truth: Learning how to play actually helps you to be more productive at work.
Now . . . why does all of this pivoting stuff matter?
Because when we fail to pivot, the most important disciples in our life—our spouse and children—suffer. We’re at risk of developing an over-inflated sense of importance. And often, depression and anxiety are waiting to pounce. When we do choose to live this way, our life gets better on multiple levels.