Do you want to fail in ministry? Here are 5 sure fire ways to end up burned out.

stress face1.  Focus on the Urgent and Not Important Things
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey points out that many leaders focus on the wrong things. Leaders can be tied up in the Urgent and the Not Important. A good leader learns to focus on the Not Urgent and Important things.

One place this shows up in ministry is training and discipling leaders. As a church planter, discipler, pastor or ministry leader it is very easy to allow the most urgent loudest voices determine your priorities. Jesus pulled away at some of the most urgent times to focus on his men. Train your leaders by focusing on the Important and not-urgent task of investing in a few young leaders. It will pay off down the road.

Solutions: Set some goals and boundaries and ask someone you admire how they handle the brush fires?

2.  Avoid Times of Renewal

I deal with pastors and worship leaders who seem to forget that they work during worship! But rarely have time to worship themselves. Certainly there are times during our worship services that renew us as leaders. If you don’t have additional time to renew, you are in danger of slowly draining your tank.

Solutions: Take time to renew each week. Take a sabbath rest on a morning without your phone. Journal, read, pray, play.

Tim Keller – wisdom and sabbath rest

3.  Forget you have a Family
If you forget you have a family you will end up having to do lots of work later. Just as a workaholic needs his career to make his life meaningful, many pastors find meaning in success in ministry. Families suffer, marriages die, children rebel. On the other hand a family that is healthy can be a blessing to you. Look out! Your wife and children need you! Unfortunately the signs are not always easy to see!

Solutions: Ask your wife how you should change your schedule to spend more time with the family. Then get someone other than her to hold you accountable to this priority.

Answers for Pastor wives = Boundaries in Ministry-

4.  Make sure everything comes across your deskmicromanagement
If you have started a new ministry you may think that your ministry can’t survive without your insight and vision. (Remember #1) Great leaders learn to focus on training people who are able to take the baton and run the race with the team. If you have to review every piece of information, every ministry plan, go to every event, and personally oversee every leader, you haven’t learned to lead.

Solutions: Sit down with your leadership team individually and clarify their responsibilities and what ways you will give oversight. Prepare a contingency plan should things not go according to plan. Determine beforehand what balls you are willing to pick up. People will fail. Let people learn from mistakes. Use the opportunity for their training. Plan debriefing into every project.

Audio clip from John Piper

John Piper – Post – Pastors don’t micromanage your church

5.  Never let anyone know you.

The great american cowboy riding off into the sunset! We love that loner rugged individual. Sorry this isn’t Jesus’ model of leadership. If no one knows you, get ready to fall hard. You are a target! The enemy loves to isolate you from the pack and bring you down. Secret sin. Prideful independence. Isolated pain and hurt. All lead to failure.

Solutions: Pray for a Jonathan or a Barnabus. No one will grow without having a partner and encourager! Cultivate a life that understands the gospel! When I understand that I am both a sinner in need of mercy and a son loved completely by my heavenly father I don’t have to protect my reputation. Freedom and Openness to others only happens when I can take my mask and armor off.

 

So what would you add to the list? What have you seen in your experience? What Solutions can you share?

Ken Hewett and Dickson

highwayAs soon as I finished teaching the first seminar we hopped on a bus and traveled to Maji Ya Chai.  That means ‘Water Like Tea’ in Swahili.  It’s a good name because the water is as brown as tea and the peoples’ teeth are stained the same color.  You can always tell if someone is from this area, or if there is a stranger in their midst.

I spent quite a bit of time talking to Greggory MFinanga, a layman who  attended the seminar. Greggory is a really huge guy who is in a wheelchair that’s like a tricycle.  The pedals are up at shoulder height and he propels himself around using his arms (which are as big as my thighs). It would be hard enough to get around on paved roads, I don’t know how he does it in all this dirt.

Greggory was excited to find out that he has been discipling young men without even knowing it!  He has a couple of small groups that meet regularly and he said they are growing in Christ-like character.  Greggory can read English, so I gave him a CD with our Phase II Bible Studies on it.   He is looking forward to teaching the Bible Studies and  putting all his other material together in an organized way.

Charles’ pastors’ group has been a fun group to teach.  I could spend the rest of my life in this area.  They are so needy and eager to learn and they have really caught the vision.  The problem is to get our Phase II Bible Studies translated into Swahili.  Dickson knows a man who can do the translating for just $3 a page.  I hope to meet with him when we’re in Arusha for the next seminar.  Be praying with me that we can get the finances to help these pastors out.

Off to Arusha and the third seminar….

Ken

Obama and the Pope Mural
Obama and the Pope Mural
Ken Hewett and Dickson
Ken and Dickson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Posts in this Series:

Tanzania Diary -Ken Hewett I

Tanzania Diary – Ken Hewett II

Arusha Tanzania

At 2:00 on Saturday I’ll be on a plane, headed for Detroit and my final destination of Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania.  Pastor Nnko, our Associate staff in Tanzania for almost twenty years, was a prolific church planter before he died in 2012.  Nnko began almost 25 churches and each one is pastored by one of his disciples.  He named the churches all ‘Grace Evangelical Church’ because he thought that was a cool name!

Dickson Lazier is one of his disciples.  Dickson pastors the church in Arusha, which was built by a group of men from our church here in Fayetteville.  I’ll be teaching three seminars for Nnko’s disciples since they are like sheep without a shepherd since he died.  I hope to re-focus their vision on helping their people to grow in Christ-like character.

Please be praying for Dickson and Pastor Charles Sengasu as they coordinate the seminars and for health and strength for me.

Thanks, Ken

Dickson's Church
Dickson’s Church
Arusha Tanzania
Arusha Tanzania