Dealing With Pastoral Burn Out

Regardless of whether pastors are young adults just starting out in ministry or senior adults with a lifetime of experience, a significant issue that many bivocational pastors face is burn-out. Pastors burn-out when they become emotionally drained by the stress of serving a church full time and working an additional full time job.

While larger churches often have access to resources to help their pastors return to health, smaller churches rarely have that capability. Pastoral burn-out is a serious obstacle for smaller churches to overcome. When bivocational pastors begin to burn-out, they usually end up leaving the churches they serve.

Since burn-out happens more often in small churches that can only afford bivocational pastors, small churches often go long periods of time without adequate pastoral leadership. These frequent gaps in pastoral leadership often cause small churches to struggle constantly to achieve health. This becomes a vicious cycle that small churches often cannot find their way out of.

The solution is to help bivocational pastors become more effective in delegating some of their pastoral duties to others so they will not become exhausted and leave. This is especially important to young pastors who often have families that can be adversely affected by constantly moving from one church to another.

As pastors are assisted in learning how to delegate some pastoral duties to others, they will have more energy to devote to ministry and will find greater fulfillment in their ministries. These pastors will also be able to remain in their churches longer, resulting in healthier churches and healthier pastors.

A number of practical tools are available to train bivocational pastors to delegate some of their pastoral duties to others. One of those resources is my book, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church. Dennis Bickers has also written three books that help bivocational pastors deal with the unique pressures of working two jobs. Pastors might consider joining the Bivocational Small Church Leadership Network, which is a group of pastors who encourage each other in their ministries. Why continue to struggle when help is available?


~ by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett on October 29, 2010.

One Response to “Dealing With Pastoral Burn Out”

  1. Amazon has temporarily lowered the price on my book, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church to $13.57. That is 32% off the regular price. It is a great time to pick up copies for your leadership team. You can read all about this book at this link:

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