Many pastors are very tired and burned out right now, from the stress and extra work of ministry during the coronavirus days. Take a few minutes to listen to this excellent video by pastor and author Timothy Keller. He gives four thoughts and scriptures about how to avoid burnout and get through this well.
I’ve broken out his four points below the video to make it easier to follow, or skim if you’re in a rush. The video is worth your time though!
Extraordinary prayer (and quiet time)
In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”Mark 1:35-37
Put on your oxygen mask before assisting other passengers. You must follow Jesus’ example in prioritizing time alone with God in solitary prayer, rest, and meditation.
You’ve got to take the time to rest. You need to get to bed on time. You’ve got to take the time in meditation and prayer.Tim Keller
Resilience without stoicism
Avoid the extremes: 1) stoic resilience that denies our emotions and refuses to lament, and 2) emotional venting and brokenness. We are to be, as Paul wrote, “struck down, but not destroyed.”
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”2 Corinthians 4:8-9
This point is what I personally have been feeling the most impacted about during these days. Everything is changed — we can’t do the things we normally do as a church, so WHAT DO WE DO? What are the main things that really matter to God?
In other words, “What does it really mean to be the church?”
I think some of these things will impact the way we operate as churches far into the future.
“Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do….”1 Chronicles 12:32
Keller says we need to really think critically about ministry right now and try to “understand the times” like the men of Issachar.
You need to be as temporarily free as possible from all your older goals, all your older traditions and priorities. And you need to question everything about your ministry except the things the Bible absolutely prescribes. Be open because things have changed.Tim Keller
“And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” —MordechaiEsther 4:14b, 16b
“And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” —Esther
Keller talks about having the resolve to do what needs to be done in this tough time, while bearing in mind the first three points. He gives Esther as an example of gospel resolve. Perhaps, as Esther, you are in the position you are in “for such a time as this.”
You gut it out and do the next thing.Tim Keller