I recently came across this backhanded and satirical approach to preventing burnout in your life and ministry by Christian leader Scott Crouchenour (say that name five names real fast). His article is called, “How to Burnout in 5 Easy Steps.” I will share some interactive thoughts underneath the following article:
Staying strong is overrated. All this talk about avoiding the wall? Hooey. You were born to burnout. You were meant for serving weak. Want a quick way to burnout in ministry leadership? Here are 5 easy steps:
Seek Unforgiveness. Someone hurt you lately? Cool. Here’s what you do: Hold a grudge. That’s right. Don’t give in to the temptation to be the weaker one. Keep steady. Better yet, give them the silent treatment. Yeah! It will teach them a lesson and you’ll be well on your way to burning out.
Pursue Passionlessness. Ask yourself this question: “What ministry fuels my passion?” Got your answer? Good. Now do something (anything) that is the opposite of your answer. Do the thing that is a total drag for you. Give it your all. Seek the boredom. Revel in the difficulty. It will annoy those around you and you’ll be well on your way to burning out.
Engage In Prayerlessness. Got prayer concerns? Want to touch the heart of God? Want to seek and sense His will for your life? Forget it. You’re looking to burnout, right? Good. Then cut ALL prayer from your routine. Don’t pray in the morning. Don’t pray when you’re stressed or sad. And don’t pray when things are going well. Think of the time you’ll save. It will grieve the Holy Spirit and you’ll be well on your way to burning out.
Be An Impostor. Are you introverted by nature? Be extroverted. Are you methodical? Be spontaneous. Are you a people person? Then be a recluse. You have to understand that being yourself is simply going to keep you from burning out. So don’t be yourself. Better yet, try to be just like someone else. It will irritate your loved ones and you’ll be well on your way to burning out.
Over-identify. In your work with others, you will feel their pain. This is good. Dwell on it. Identify it so deeply that you begin to feel responsible for it. This will give you ownership of their pain, as though you were the cause. You will sink in the quicksand of their misery. You won’t be able to help them because you’ll be so depressed yourself. This will help others become co-dependent and you’ll be well on your way to burning out.
So you see, if you are interested in burning out, it’s quite simple really. Just follow these 5 easy steps and we’ll see you in rehab!
In response to this thought provoking article, let me encourage you to (1) Be quick to forgive. Remember that holding on to bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other guy to die; (2) Focus on what you are passionate about. While it is true that we all have to do things that do not thrill us, for the most part you should be focusing on those areas that energize you and are life-giving; (3) It’s time to seek the face of God like never before. Burnout is accelerated when there is no living contact because time in God’s presence is the number one vital need for the believer. How long can we live without oxygen? We won’t live long without God’s breath in our lives as well; (4) Reject any influence to be anything you are not. Throughout history, God has used all types of personalities to do great exploits in His name. Focus on walking in love, compassion, integrity, and authenticity. As one theologian has said, “preaching is truth through personality.” Work on the weaknesses of your personality but allow the Lord to use the unique person that you have become; and (5) Remember that you are not the savior and you are not to take responsibility or ownership for the poor choices of people or the pain they experience in life. We are called to bind up the wounds and help heal hurting hearts but we cannot if we become codependent in the relationship or the enabler.