3. The pastor carries expectations no human can fulfill
In most small to mid-sized churches, the pastor is expected to attend (if not conduct) every wedding, funeral, hospital call or meeting, visit people in their homes, write a killer message every Sunday, organize most of the activities of the church, be present for all functions, AND have a great family life.
In other words, the pastor carries expectations no human can fulfil.
The key here for those who want to grow past this is to set clear expectations of what you will spend your time on.
I visited people in their homes and in hospital for the first two years, but then we went to a groups model. I explained (for what seemed like forever) how care was shifting from me to the congregation.
I stopped attending every church event.
We developed a great counseling referral network. And I started focusing on what I can best contribute given my gift set: communication, charting a course for the future, developing our best leaders, casting vision and raising resources.
Many small church pastors are actually more burnt out than large church pastors.
Small church pastors, please realize this: If the key to growing your church is to work more hours, you’re sunk. Work better and smarter with clearer boundaries and expectations. Don’t just work longer.
Once you master that, you can thrive, even as your church grows.
If you want more on burnout and recovery, this post has some helpful insights on burnout and what to do to get over it.
In addition, Beth Marshall from NewSpring Church explains how pastoral care can and should scale as your church reaches hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of people in this podcast below. You can listen on the player below on download the podcast on your phone here via iTunes.