Fuller De Pree Center Church Leadership Institute is one of the institutes at Fuller Seminary that serves church leaders.
The Church Leadership Institute primarily serves Pastors and Christian leaders seeking to bring change to their community. It is a consulting and coaching group, a laboratory of church leadership, and the “Harvard Business Review” of the church.
At the time of publishing, the Leadership Institute is led by Tod Bolsinger, author of the award-winning Canoeing the Mountains.
Here is an excerpt from Tod's recent article that is highly relevant to church planters:
The Two Factors That Keep Pastors from Calling it Quits
How can we lead and minister differently so that we don’t find ourselves hanging on for dear life until our next vacation or sabbatical?
A big clue is found in the widely read report about the number of clergy who either left or seriously considered leaving the ministry during the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic. When you compare the pastors who quit or almost quit ministry from those who didn’t, the experience of the challenges is similar: stress, political division, and feeling lonely and isolated are the top factors listed by both groups.
But the big difference is that those who faced those challenges without considering stepping down were not more resolved or committed than those who did, but they did have two other factors that worked in their favor:
They felt more equipped to face the challenges and more supported as they did.
As Barna reported, “Overall, most pastors are confronting the same pressures and stressors—but perhaps not the same levels of equipping and support. As Rev. Dr. Glenn Packiam writes in Barna's The State of Your Church, "We need sages to advise us, leaders to direct us or hold us accountable, peers to remind us that we aren’t alone, healers to dress our wounds and companions who carry us when we can’t carry on."”
I will have more to write about this in the near future, but for today, what I’d like you to consider as you either come back from a sabbatical or just step up to the demands of the new ministry year is that the difference for most of us is not just healthy patterns of rest and work, but continually growing in our leadership skills with other partners and mentors.
Leaders learn how to navigate change. They do it together. And they are more encouraged and equipped because they do.
Overcoming burnout is not just a matter of resting better, it’s also about working differently. Enduring in ministry is about continuing to grow as a leader and doing so in partnership with others who can encourage you as you do.