As small group point people, we hit the ground running in January—getting new groups started, getting old groups started again, getting people signed up, and all the administrative tasks that go along with this. We think we will get to breathe once this is done, only to find that our to-do list is longer than ever.
If we’re not careful, we get caught up in this vicious cycle, moving faster and faster, until we reach a breaking point, and we become the ones in need of critical care, having burnt out.
What are some intentional steps that we can take to avoid burnout not only in 2018, but over the course of our life?
- Have your own community. This should go without saying, but the sad reality is, as pastors, staff, or key volunteers, it can be excruciatingly difficult to find a group where we are not seen in this role. That’s why so many of us have found Small Group Network Huddles to be so life-giving (see this post for someone’s firsthand account). We all need a place where we can be cared for and ministered to, instead of always doing it.
- Have a creative outlet. What activities bring you life? And are you actually engaging in them? For me, it’s cooking. I need to find times to be creative in the kitchen in order to replenish my soul. These outlets don’t need to be “spiritual,” but nor should it be an activity that leads to comatose states, like binge-watching Netflix.
- Guard your schedule. It can be hard to do this when meeting with volunteers who work 9-5 requires some creative scheduling. But we also typically know the rhythms and cycles of our church calendar. What are those weeks or months in your year that you know will require more from you? And what can you do to prepare beforehand and what can you do during to maintain your vitality? This might mean saying no to things and knowing your limitations. Don’t just guard your work schedule, equally, and probably with even more diligence, guard your schedule and time with your family.
- Take care of yourself spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Again I feel like I should know this, but being on staff full-time, being a husband, raising a toddler, and expecting child #2 this summer, these three items too often take a backseat. And I am sure I am not alone, and I don’t have any good answers. But for me, one way that I take care of myself spiritually has been in finding a spiritual director. I meet with him once a month, and he helps re-center me on where God is stirring in my own soul, in both the good and the bad. What are you going to do this year in these regards?
Take your small group ministry to the next level by attending the “Lobby Gathering” 2018 in sunny Southern California March 13-15th! Register HERE!
If you are reading this blog, and you are beginning to notice the signs of burnout, or you have been there for months, but have not found someone to talk to, please reach out to the Small Group Network through the Huddle page. Or please contact your region leader (found here and scrolling down to the USA or International Regional leaders) and they can help point you in the right direction. The Small Group Network is not only great in sharing ideas, but in also caring for each other as real people with real issues.