Torch, Fall 1984

totally free from his duties which are not always clearly defined. Especially significant is the pas– tor's responsibility for another's spiritual well-being. When results (souls saved , new members, new tithers) are not quickly evident, the pastor is often blamed for lack of "growth" in the church. Some pas– tors, while being accountable for the Actually , the family itself can play a significant part in limiting the ex– tent of burnout. Professionals with families are less vulnerable to burn– out than are single professionals or married workers without children . Involvement with a spouse and chil– dren provides the leader with more experience in dealing with personal problems and emotional conflicts . Family relationships are also hindered by the burnout victim. spiritual development of the congre– gation , are not , in practice, permitted the freedom to initiate the needed changes. Another aspect that may contribute to pastoral burnout is an overload caused by becoming emo– tionally involved with congrega– tional members who overwhelm him by their own emotional demands . While work output decreases dramatically in the burnout victim, quality diminishes as well. Because of chronic fatigue, he struggles just to arise in the morning and arrive at work on time . Creative thinking is hindered and the individual may put in more and more hours on the job but accomplish less and less. The burnout victim may resort to treating subordinates in a deper– sonalized, callous fashion. He puts them down, ignores their requests , and fails to provide the appropriate help or service. The burned out pro– fessional 's work behavior becomes a reversal of the actions evident when he initially dedicated himself to job goals. Family relationships are also hin– dered by the burnout victim. Long working hours may take the family leader away from spouse and chil– dren . Because of emotional exhaus– tion , he may withdraw and ignore those who are the closest and who can provide needed support. When work demands are extreme , a manager may come home and lash out at the family since a similar emotional dis– play would not be acceptable at the office . Also, the family is often an emotional drain because the support of family members helps the individual cope with the emotional demands of the job. For Christians under stress , a healthy , personal devotional time is essential. I cannot think of a more significant factor in coping with the stress that results in burnout. Unfor– tunately , fatigue is a major hin– drance . The burned out individual who has difficulty getting out of bed in the morning has a tendency to sleep until the latest possible minute . Then , in the evenings the individual is usually too tired for daily quiet times of Scripture reading and prayer. Since working long hours is common for those striving for un– realistic expectations , church ser– vices are missed . Thus , the powerful spiritual sources for replenishing de– pleted resources are scratched from the Christian 's daily and weekly schedule. As a result, the weary be– liever burns out and then drops out of effective service for Christ. Let me hasten to say, though , that burnout is not a permanent condition . There can be a healing. Effectively dealing with the burned out condition first and then relieving stress on a day-to-day basis will aid the leader in returning to a happy , productive life style . Following are nine practical suggestions toward restoration of overstressed leadership . 1. Acknowledge that a problem exists. Accept the fact that you are in a burned-out state and that you need a change in life style . 2. Establish a daily quiet time. Read the Bible and pray to gain God's strength for each day instead of depending on self-sufficiency , a characteristic of the goal-oriented in– dividual. 3. Realistically define success. For the Christian , success involves reaching individual potential and not necessarily acquiring money, power, and status. 4. Establish high, but attaina– ble, goals. With your family , set goals based not only on potential and dreams , but also within your own individual abili – ties. 5 . Talk with your spouse and friends. Set regular times to talk through home and work situations with your spouse and fami ly and work prob– lems with colleagues. 6. Gain an honest perspective of your job and its problems. Seek a reasonable fit between your God-given abilities and the complex– ity and structure of your job. 7. Become involved in your local church. If burnout has taken you away from your church , re-establish regular at– tendance and select one or two areas of service. However, if overinvolve– ment has contributed to your burn– out, re-evaluate your service. Cut back to one or two service areas which are most meaningful for you . 8. Take a break from the routine. Withdraw physically from the situa– tion by taking a weekend trip or vaca– tion . Change to a completely differ– ent activity such as reading, hobbies , and outdoor recreation. 9. Build resistance to frustra– tion by regular sleep, regular exer– cise, and good health habits . Dr. Karol Hunt is assistant professor of physical education at Cedarville College. She received her Ph.D. from the Uni– versity of Iowa and is women 's basketball coach at Cedarvi lle . 13