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Carey Nieuwhof: Why Burnout Is Not Inevitable and How Pastors Can Avoid It

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is the founding pastor of the influential Connexus Church, as well as a leadership author, speaker, podcaster, and former attorney. His podcast, blog, and online content are accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times each month. Carey’s most recent book is “At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor.”

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Key Questions for Carey Nieuwhof

-Are most pastors so stressed by their careers and lives in general that they want to escape from them? Have you experienced this as a pastor yourself?

-What are the thinking and planning errors that lead to perpetual stress and eventual burnout?

-How can leaders tell if they are living at a good pace or are going too fast and are fooling themselves?

-How do you say ‘no’ well, and how do you structure your calendar?

Key Quotes From Carey Nieuwhof

“When it comes to pastoral ministry, most of us feel an intense sense of calling. Hopefully, if you don’t have that, you’re not in ministry. But what I found before my burnout was that the stress was becoming really, really difficult to handle.”

“When I talk to a lot of leaders, in ministry and out of ministry, they seem to have this escapist notion that, ‘I have so much pressure right now. I just want a job with no pressure.’”

“​​It’s not like the pandemic ushered in burnout. It’s not like, ‘Oh, what is this new thing? Burnout? We’ve never heard of it before.’ Burnout has been around for decades, and it’s been a casualty of ministry for a long time.”

“If you quit your job, guess what? You bring you into your next assignment, and if you just naturally run at an unsustainable pace, you’re going to have that problem.”

“What are you doing during your workday to guarantee a much more sustainable pace?”

“I spent all of my thirties pedal to the metal. Hard, hard, hard. Run, run, run. And our church was growing, and so I was validated by the external success. So externally, we’re growing. Internally, I’m imploding, and I didn’t realize that at the time because I thought I could just push through it. And people told me, particularly toward my late thirties, ‘Carey, you’re going to burn out,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I’m not. That’s for weak people.’