Spiritual Energy Management: Avoiding Pastoral Burnout by Developing a Healthy Devotional Life
Experiencing occupational burnout is not uncommon in a society that lives to work, and the pastor is no exception to this. Given the “serve not be served” nature of the ministry, coupled with its specific and wide-ranging challenges, pastors are generally more susceptible to become burned out in the three major areas of life: physical, mental, and spiritual. In recent years, research has shown that when burnout is treated in a wholistic manner by considering each of those three areas, recovery and even prevention from burnout becomes more attainable. There is no shortage of resources concerning physical and mental care that include time management and stress reducing practices, many of which are readily available and beneficial. This thesis, however, will seek to explore the benefits of developing healthy devotional habits as a possible remedy for the increasing problem of pastoral burnout. This thesis will review the phenomenon of burnout and its causes, explore what Scripture says concerning spiritual care, explain how a wholistic approach to pastoral care can be of great benefit, and provide general principles regarding a strong devotional life that both pastors and lay members can apply in their lives.