Below you’ll find the show notes for episode 73, Overcoming Women’s Ministry Burnout: Tips to Refuel and Renew Your Passion, from the Women’s Ministry Toolbox Podcast.
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Overcoming Women’s Ministry Burnout: Tips to Refuel and Renew Your Passion
If you’re suffering from women’s ministry burnout or thinking of quitting this is for you!
And if you’re not, praise God! I’d love for you to read this post anyway. You may want to take some notes to help others or yourself when burnout strikes.
What are some of the signs of women’s ministry burnout?
- Maybe you’re dreading your next women’s ministry event.
- Maybe you’re struggling to find enthusiasm for your women’s ministry team meetings.
- Or maybe you’re experiencing a lack of joy for tackling ministry tasks.
- You may have had thoughts of quitting.
- Maybe you’re just weary of the mental, emotional, and spiritual battles.
Women’s ministry can be hard.
It’s challenging to try to meet the various needs of a diverse group of women. Personality conflicts can take their toll. The highs are high, but the lows can be low.
If you’re feeling the effects of ministry burnout, you are not alone.
I know it can feel like you’re the only one. I’ve been in dark places, where I’ve desperately wanted to feel the love for women’s ministry that I once had.
There is a strange comfort in knowing others are or have walked through a similar experience. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. “
As I fought my way out of that pit, I made several choices that helped me see the light despite the darkness.
If you’re in a season where you’ve lost your love for women’s ministry, I pray you’ll find these tips helpful and that God will use them to lead you back to a place where your joy abounds.
While your source of ministry burnout may be multi-layered, I’ve found the root cause is almost always a depletion of spiritual resources.
We can get so busy pouring into the lives of others that we neglect to fill back up. As many have said, it’s like pouring out of an empty cup.
The constant demands of women’s ministry can make it difficult to stop and refuel. A drop here and a drop there, while helpful, don’t last very long.
7 Tips to Help You Rediscover Your Joy for Women’s Ministry
These seven tips come from experience. I’m pulling them from those seasons of burnout that I’ve walked through. I hope you’ll find them helpful.
1. Stay in the Word
I am so thankful that I already had an established Bible study routine going into this season. My READ Bible study method (find out more here) takes less than 20 minutes a day (there’s a 4, 5, and 6-day plan). Focusing on just one chapter of the Bible a week was especially beneficial when life got crazy.
Despite the lengthy to-do lists, I started in God’s Word every day M-F. I needed the spiritual reset each morning.
2. Get Outside and Walk
There’s something about being surrounded by God’s creation and physical movement that can help break through the burnout. Walking outside lifts my spirits. I feel better when I’ve been active.
On days when walking outside isn’t possible, I try to hop on our treadmill. Maybe for you, it’s the gym, going to a pilates class, or playing pickleball. Get moving. Any movement matters.
3. Ask for Prayer
When I reach out to others for prayer, I often feel an immediate shift in my spirit. Knowing that others are praying for me somehow makes my load feel lighter.
4. Admit You’re Struggling
Ministry can be intense and stressful. There are seasons and events that require a lot more time and energy. It can be easy to brush things off or to push yourself too hard.
When you experience those signs of burnout I shared earlier, it’s critical that you admit you’re struggling and take steps to make changes and get help.
I have a bad habit of stuffing my feelings until they erupt like a volcano that spews all over. Failing to catch and address ministry burnout could result in a lot of apologizing and damage control. Tip #7 offers specific steps for getting help.
5. Serve Others
I know this seems counterintuitive, but serving others wasn’t draining; it was life-giving! Putting others first forced my mind off of my current situation.
In a recent difficult season, I set a time each day to stop all ministry work, and I put my family first after months of neglecting them.
6. Opt for Healthier Meals and Snacks
I reward myself with food, so the temptation during big projects to eat a cookie or piece of chocolate as I check off goals is strong. And emotional turmoil can encourage me to ditch the one cookie for four or a big bowl of ice cream.
Planning healthy meals can be a real struggle with so much to do, and it takes time I often feel I don’t have to give, but I’ve found it fueling my body with healthy food makes a difference.
If you truly don’t have time to cook, consider ordering your meals. There are several meal services with healthy options that may be a good fit for you even if it’s just to get you through the season you’re in.
7. Pull back and press pause
There’s a good chance you’re doing too much. God designed our bodies to need sleep and rest. Prayerfully consider where you can pull back or what you can press pause on. You need to sleep.
Designate specific time to work on women’s ministry tasks and stop when the time is up. I’ve found when my task list is specific and my time is limited, I get more done. Likewise, the tasks often expand to fill the time I’ve allotted. You can trick yourself into working faster and harder.
You may need to delegate some tasks. If you have a team (and you should, even in a small church), they need to know you need help.
Maybe you need to move some things on your calendar or delay the implementation of some ministry ideas until the next year. Has God asked you to do it right now, or is it something you’ve made a priority?
I discovered something amazing when I’ve pulled back and pressed pause – I can more clearly sense God’s direction. Quieting my mind and my to-do list, gives space for me to see where God’s leading. And with that fresh perspective comes a renewed desire to serve well.
Ministry is hard, and there will always be difficult ministry seasons.
I pray if you’re feeling discouraged that you won’t give up, but that you’ll prayerfully seek whether God is calling you to serve elsewhere or if He’s calling you to rediscover your joy.
If you can, schedule regular blocks of time for intentional spiritual renewal.
One of the best ways I know to receive effective and abundant spiritual renewal is to attend a retreat or conference. Not your own conference or retreat, but one that someone else has planned. Where you can just show up and soak in the teaching and fellowship provided. Where you can listen to God’s Word without the distractions and demands of daily life.
I just returned from a conference for seasoned Christian speakers and writers, many of whom have far more experience than I do. Can I let you in on a secret? They struggle with burnout too. The conference was purposefully created as a space for us to fill back up after spending so much time pouring out.
It reminds me of Jeremiah 31:25, “For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
Allow God to water your parched soul. Let Him bring beauty from the ashes of your ministry burnout.
Is it time to step down?
I can’t tell you for certain, but God can.
It can be tempting to give up when we no longer feel passionate about women’s ministry, but we must remember that feelings don’t always align with truth. Your love for women’s ministry will wane, but it can return even stronger.
Take the time to pray and seek godly counsel before stepping down. If God’s clearly moving you to another ministry, sometimes the answer is a bit more obvious. Seek to be obedient to what God has called you to do for as long as He’s called you to do it.
Today’s Toolbox Tasks:
- If you’re suffering from women’s ministry burnout, choose at least 2 things from the list of 7 to do.
- If needed, ask God to renew and refresh your love for women’s ministry.