|Recharging Drained Batteries
I have a bad habit of working on several projects at the same time. This inevitably means not only do I have quite a few documents open, but also, I have quite a few programs and windows open on my computer. This often results in two things happening. First, as I am switching from one thing to another, I can easily forget where I stopped and where I need to pick back up on a project. Secondly, I discover my computer needs to be charged more often.
The other day my computer locked up for quite a while. After about fifteen minutes of waiting for the rainbow circle to stop spinning (my computer's way of saying, "Hey, give me a minute to catch up!"), I decided to turn the computer completely off and back on again. The computer did reboot, but then after about five minutes, it completely shut down.
Even though I had charged the computer over night, the charge did not last long. The reason-I had too many programs open at the same time which was quickly draining the stored energy from the battery. Frustrated by this interruption and minor setback in what I had hoped to accomplish, I took a deep breath and readjusted my attitude and my expectations. In a way, I had been pushing the limits of my computer's capabilities.
In a similar way, I have noticed this in so many pastors. The adrenaline has worn off, and now they are just worn out. Decision fatigue has set in. An overwhelming sense of responsibility is weighing heavier than it ever has. The concern for the people they have been called to serve is heightened as is their concern about what people are saying and thinking about their leadership.
Much like my computer, they have had too many windows open in their minds and spirits which drained their energy. The pressure is immense. As they continue to offer worship services, conduct meetings; teach bible studies and online devotions, and continue with pastoral care, there are thoughts and emotions in the background which we cannot see. All of which are draining their energy quickly. In addition, there seems to be fewer opportunities to recharge their own batteries, as it is more difficult to take time off and get away.
As a result, many pastors are tired, worn down, and burnt out.
How can you help?
Continue to contribute financially to your church.
Consider the creative ways your church can support your pastors taking a week off from preparing and leading worship.
Reach out to your pastor and ask how they are doing.
Encourage your pastor through your words and actions.
Offer more grace and less criticism.
Stop comparing what your pastor or church is doing to what others are doing.
Instead of complaining and pointing out problems, be a person who offers solutions.
Don't shrink back from your own call to Christian service.
Ask how you might be able to help share the load of the work.
Consistently pray for your pastor.
More than ever our pastors need our help, our prayers, and support. May we share with them the love, compassion, and support they have so generously shared with us.
Blessing, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister