What now?

by Megan
(Winnipeg, MB, Canada)

Hi,
It's my first time visiting this site and I've found it very encouraging that there is help online for people in ministry who need someone who understands. I have only been at my church for 2 1/2 years but the needs are unending and about a month ago I finally was able to admit that I'm burnt out. I have been ignoring it for about as long as I've been working there and I finally had nothing left to give and was able to recognize how depressed and alone I felt in my job. I can't admit to anyone, including my incredibly loyal and loving family, that I have no relationship with God right now. I know the answers, I've been educated for 4 years at Bible School, and I love God... I just don't know Him right now. I can't understand why he's not trying to get me back and I feel powerless to go looking for Him. I am taking time off here and there, am seeing a counselor, taking vitamins, trying to sleep 8-10 hours.... I'm still trying to work up the motivation to exercise. But I still don't feel as though it's all been helping. I read your article on how to deal with burnout but I need to know more. What serious work do I do now? How do I get even a rocky relationship with God back? I don't have anyone I feel I can burden with this kind of honesty and so I sit here, all alone, and wonder 'what now?'.

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To: What Now?
by: Elizabeth Levesque

Hello Megan,

there is nothing more awful than being trained for the pastorate or church work, feeling the thrill of getting your BA in Bible or MA in theology or M-DIV and then getting into the real world of church work and finding, "the thrill is gone." It's exactly like that song where the anticipation doesn't even begin to match the actual job. I don't know what is wrong with your particular church or denomination but you have several options. You can switch to another church. You can switch to another career. It's pretty early in the game and after 2-1/2 years you already want to throw in the towel. So, this is not a good sign. However, are you trained for anything else? Do you want to do something else or stay in church work and find another church? Get some career counseling. I spent $24,000 on a MA-Theology before I realized I no longer wanted to pastor. I am 53 and retired. I burned out long ago from all the mean people who fought in church meetings over money, position, and power. I loved the kids though. I loved teaching youth and children the Bible. That was my forte. If I could do anything again it would be to focus on them. Children's ministry or para church ministry (World Vision, etc.), fundraising, could be another avenue for you. You could also look into: Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul Society, thrift stores, food banks, any kind of Christian work that helps the poor. Blessings.

I understand
by: Anonymous

I am in the same boat as you're. Exactly feeling the same way. I hardly have the energy to move forward. But I am trusting in God that He'll make a way, and He'll lead me. I moved out of the parsonage, and living at a friend's house, and not knowing what I'll do next. And with limited financial resource. people can be cruel, and I am hurting really bad. People take ownership of their little projects, and they refuse to give it up.. It hurts everyone...I am in a lot of pain now since. I just resigned from the local church just two weeks ago... God is God, and He'll never fail you. Hang in there...

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