Sometimes the best cure for burnout is to look for new pastor jobs.
Please keep in mind that a clergy employment search is a last resort. Before you look for other ministry jobs, please read this page .
The first thing that you need to do when on a job search is to ensure that you don’t get into a church that will just be a repeat of what you’re experiencing now. There’s no point in changing ministries if in a couple years you will just be back to burnout. And take it from me, each burnout experience gets a little worse. Things won’t be any better and will probably be worse if you don’t choose your next ministry carefully.
I wrote a short workbook on burnout . The purpose of the workbook is to help readers identify and overcome burnout in their lives. In it I discuss six different sources of burnout. They are work overload, lack of control, insufficient reward, unfairness, a breakdown in community, and values conflict. Someone who is burned out is struggling in at least one of these areas. I discuss all that in the book.
What I don’t discuss in the Pastor Burnout Workbook is how to use the six sources of burnout to read a congregation: to evaluate the church’s propensity to cause their pastor to fall into burnout.
As you look for other ministry jobs I suggest you use the six sources in the following way:
- Contact the previous pastor and ask specific questions about the six sources of burnout ( see my Workbook for explanations of the six sources). You will also want to ask him why he left.
- Ask the pulpit committee direct questions about conflict in the church, why the previous pastor left, and ongoing tensions.
- Ask about how much vacation and other time away is given. Don’t accept any position unless you can be away from the church for at least four weeks a year.
- Ask detailed questions about time expectations, about a job description. Get as much information you can about the level of workload required in the church.
- Discuss at length your values and the values of the congregation. What is most important to you? What is most important to them? Does you list match theirs? If not you are asking for trouble.
- Talk about who is in charge. Who makes what decisions? What authority does the pastor have? Make sure that you will have enough control of things so that you won’t get frustrated.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss salary package issues. Their willingness to sacrifice a little for their pastor says a lot about how they value their pastor.
These questions are jumping off points to discussing the six sources of burnout I mentioned above. For a complete discussion and description of these sources, see my Workbook.
Pastor Job Search
Take a look at the following pages to find links to pastor job openings.