There's also "I'm tired because I can't seem to find any time to rest. Something always needs to be done."
And then there's the "I'm tired because no matter how much I work, I don't seem to be making any progress or having an effect."
All of you ladies who read this are probably thinking, "Welcome to motherhood!" But, I feel confident that I can also say, "Welcome to longterm, real life, trench-based ministry." All three of the aforementioned "I'm tired" sentences apply every day to thousands of ministers across the country and around the world. They especially apply to those who have spent 20, 30 or 40 years ministering in a local church. And the third "I'm tired" is the most difficult one of all. It's the one that can suck the hope right out of your week! So, for all of my exhausted fellow ministers, here are four tips for the tired pastor:
1. Find a spiritually mature and wise friend whom you trust and tell them that you are tired.
2. Check your refreshment gauges.
3. Take a break!
But when I get tired — tired of the push, tired of the grind, tired of the slow progress — I have learned that I need a break. The real ministers out there know exactly what I'm talking about. Some of you need a day off each week. Some of you need to arrange a week off. Most of you need time out of your pulpit so that you can refresh your mind spiritually. Find a local pastor who can cover you. Contact the nearest Bible college or seminary and see if they have a young preacher who can cover for a week or two. Reach out to the evangelical megachurch in your area with whose doctrine you align, and see if they have some pastoral interns who would be available. The potential relationships may become annual events and a chance for you to refresh each time. If you know that you need a break, take a break before you break. Broken and exhausted pastors are not good for anyone, especially the church body. If you've become so tired that depression is knocking at the door regarding your ministry, you should memorize a few verses to combat this.
4. Read key verses about persevering and then pray.
- Romans 12:11-12 — "Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." (ESV)
- Psalm 16:8-9 — "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely." (NASU)
- Romans 5:3-4 — "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (ESV)
- James 1:12 — "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (ESV)
- Galatians 6:9-10 — "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." (NASU)
- 2 Timothy 1:12-14 — "For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know who I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." (NASU)
- Philippians 3:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, 1 Timothy 6:12
When you read the inspired verses above, you can know two things for sure. God knows you are going to need strength in order to endure ministry and the Apostle Paul know that you need strength to endure. Everyone gets tired. Please know that 6.14 Ministries is here to support you when you're tired. If you're a lay person and recognize that your pastor is tired, feel free to reach out to us for encouragement. We can encourage by phone or in person depending on your needs.
6.14 Ministries exists to rescue good churches and good minsters and to keep the vision of the local church strong. You can contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.