How to Be a Good Youth Pastor When You Feel Burned Out – Part 2 - Dare 2 Share
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

How to Be a Good Youth Pastor When You Feel Burned Out – Part 2

Practical, biblical strategies to get yourself back on track

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In part 1 of this article, we took a look at the prophet Elijah when he was at his lowest point (1 Kings 19). After airing his grievances to God (verse 4), he did three really important things: He took a nap (verse 5), he ate some cake (verse 6), and then he went for a long hike (verse 8). So if you’re feeling down, do these simple steps.

Rest. Eat. Run.

As human beings, we have a very real, physical limit to what we can do and what we can endure. Sometimes we feel burned out because we’re simply worn out. Sometimes we’re overly stressed because we think the world depends on us—but it doesn’t!

When I feel myself becoming overwhelmed with the pressure and stress of life and ministry, I do myself a huge favor and simply take a nap. (God is big enough to take care of things while I sleep.) Then I wake up and eat a snack. (I prefer a Little Debbie Zebra Cake.) Then I go for a run. (Somehow things tend to look a bit smaller and more manageable after my run.) I call this “The Elijah Method,” and it has served me well on many occasions.

Do the right thing anyway.

The worst thing we could possibly do is use our bad circumstances as an excuse for creating more bad circumstances.

The prophet Elijah found himself in deep despair, but he didn’t allow those feelings to keep him from doing the right thing—from following the clear word of the LORD.

Jesus set an example with this as well, after finding out that His cousin John had been beheaded (Matthew 14). He had withdrawn and wanted to be alone but instead found Himself surrounded by a large crowd following Him on foot. Sure, He was sad. Sure, He wanted to be alone. But He didn’t let His sadness or desire for solitude keep Him from doing the right thing in that moment. Instead, He had compassion on the crowd, healed the sick, and miraculously fed more than 5,000 people—in the midst of His own personal pain.

In Matthew 20:28, Jesus tells His disciples that He came not to be served, but to serve. Our calling is the same.

Youth pastor, the students the LORD is calling you to look after are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. God is calling you to have compassion for them, to shepherd them, to lead them to God Himself.

If that calling doesn’t resonate with you, then you’re simply in the wrong profession.

However, if that calling resonates and reverberates in the depths of your heart and soul, then you need to muster up the grace, humility, and strength to admit when you’re lost; to find a true friend; to rest, eat, and run; and to do the right thing anyway. The youth need you, and God has called and equipped you uniquely to meet that need.

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