Lone street artist

There are some dark sides to ministry that are not discussed in a very open manner.

One is burnout.

First I should say that my soul is in pretty good shape right now and I’m not dealing with burn out personally.

But I’ve seen a lot of it over the years. And I know a lot of worship folk go through it.

Burnout can happen for a number of reasons in any occupation. It is “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.”

The nonstop nature of ministry with it’s high demands and even higher expectations is a recipe for burnout.

Worship folk, generally speaking, also tend to be more of the artistic/creative types. We have more sensitive psyches to begin with.

Some of the pressure points in worship ministry include:

  1. Pressure to perform.
  2. Comparisons to __________ that are impossible to match up to.
  3. Unrealistic expectations.
  4. Church politics, especially the kind leave you feeling rejected.
  5. Being overworked and underpaid, if you’re paid at all.
  6. Lack of appreciation. This could be from your pastor, your congregation and/or your teammates.
  7. Conflict. This causes a lot of stress. Could be over song selections, styles, relationships.
  8. Being misunderstood.
  9. Add to this the internal angst we put on ourselves to do a good job, try to be musically excellent, and have our congregations engage.

When it’s all too much, too often people crash, melt down and do things they really regret.

Don’t let that happen to you.

I think the church in general has a very serious problem. We tend to shoot our wounded and treat those who serve as expendable.

This is a shame.

The answer is not in simplistic religious Christian clichés.

The answer is to do the work of the ministry in healthy, not unhealthy ways. Actually that’s a huge subject. More about that in another post.

Here’s a couple soul care remedies that have been personally helpful to me.

1. Rest and take a break.

One trap a lot of us fall into is the “I can’t take a break” mentality.


If you died they’d have to get somebody else to lead worship or find some other way. Go there.

Whether it is half of a day or a week, schedule some time off.

2. Get good counsel.

Get whatever you need, whether talking it out with trusted friends (which can be next to impossible sometimes), a peer who’s doesn’t have a stake in your ministry, or a professional psychological counselor.

A lot of healing comes just from speaking the truth, or at least the truth as you are experiencing it.

Listen to a voice outside of your sphere and get an objective perspective.

So, how are you doing? I’d love to hear form you on this. Talk to me in the comments or send me an e-mail, rob@robstill.com

Over to you. Keep it real.

What causes you to feel burned-out? What solutions have worked for you?


For more on burnout, one article I recommend is from Church Leadership.com  Ten Rules to Avoid Ministry Burnout

Coming oh so very soon! My new e-book series on “Wholehearted Worship”.