by | Apr 25, 2023 | Burnout, Leadership, Ministry Leader, Pastor, Quitting

The latest report from Barna (2023) reveals an explosive statistic: 40% of pastors report they’re suffering from burnout. In 2015, that number was 11%.

In today’s episode, we interview author Sean Nemecek about his book, The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout. Together we unpack why this is happening, and share dashboard warning lights that alert us to looming burnout.

You can listen to the episode here.

You can watch the video version here.


  1. Sean, in your book’s foreword Glen Pakiam shares a series of reports from Barna that asked pastors if they had seriously considered quitting the ministry. Can you share those stats with us?
    • Burnout is occurring at record levels.
    • Over a sixteen-month period (November 2021 to February 2023) the number of pastors seriously considering quitting the ministry rose from 29% to 43%.
    • We are talking more about burnout, and in doing so, created more awareness.
    • Burnout defined by Sean as “more going out than is coming in.”
  2. Can you describe for us your story of burnout?
    • My lack of self-care.
    • The constant presence of a critic for the first eleven years of pastoral ministry.
    • The death of a teenager in my congregation.
    • I was working harder than ever but producing less.
    • I had to learn to take criticism less personally and respond from a place of security in Christ.
  3. In the intro to your book, you talk about “compassion fatigue.” Can you unpack this idea?
    • It’s a common term used among those in helping professions.
    • If you’re constantly giving to others in need without practicing self-care, you can run out of compassion.
    • It’s a way our body tells us that we haven’t been caring for ourselves properly.
  4. You state in the book that most leaders are unaware when they’re burning out. What are the dashboard lights that flash in your life when burnout is lurking?
    • A feeling of deep fatigue – it’s fatigue on the inside.
    • A lack of effectiveness in work.
    • My sense of self is gone.
    • When I have lost my optimism.
    • General irritability.
    • Feeling depressed.
    • NOTE: Your whole body is involved in burnout.
  5. You don’t have to panic when you find yourself in burnout. It might be a gift from God.