Hard working pastors and burnout

Kara Powell | Aug 20, 2010

Recently the New York Times ran this interesting article on exhaustion in the ministry and how more denominations and churches are trying to make sure that pastors take a day off (aka a Sabbath). The article points to lots of factors contributing to the overwork of pastors, ranging from spouses entering the workforce to shrinking congregations.

I’m a practical theologian so I tend to look to theological roots behind behaviors. When it comes to my own tendencies to overwork, I’ve been greatly influenced by Louie Giglio who says that if God is the great “I am,” that makes us the great “I am not.”

God is the shepherd. I am not.

God is the worker. I am not.

I am not. I am not. I am not.

It’s so much easier for me to take a day off, unplug from e.mail, and truly enjoy the Lord and my dear friends and family when I realize that God is God. And I am not.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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