burnout factor

An Idea for Congregational Leadership

People burn out serving in church for a variety of reasons. Some have open-ended terms of service and wind up teaching a Sunday school class or serving as a trustee for 25 years. Others burn out because they are a square peg in a round hole. They volunteered to cover an open spot that needed to be filled, but it was not in their giftedness. Others burn out because they serve with no feedback, encouragement or training. But one of the most common kinds of burnout comes in a way we seldom measure or notice. In fact, it is likely that most churches make this mistake without realizing it.

Most churches plan their programs through committees, teams, or some kind of group. In too many cases, the group that plans an event also does the work to carry it out. In the mean time, 75-90% of the congregation sit idle, having no opportunity to participate in the planning or preparation. Trying to wear both hats is one of the biggest and least recognized causes of burnout.

But, what if your planning groups were primarily strategy groups instead? What if, after the planning was complete, the planning committee recruited people from the congregation to carry out the event? It's a win-win deal at that point. The planners don't get so tired and more of the congregation is engaged in ministry.

NOTE: Even if you shift to this style of ministry, beware that there will always be a natural inclination to slide back to doing both things. Why? Because in the short term, it seems easier. Save your people and limit them to either planning (and oversight) or execution.

from Taking Aim…Church planning with Purpose Workshop

Grace Institute

Aurora, Illinois


Source Note:  

This essay is a creation of Grace Institute in Illinois, and is used with permission.  It was originally included in GraceNews: a Bi-Weekly E-newsletter, dated January 2, 2009.

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