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

“When you burn out, you really surrender control. And so it was about four or five months until I felt the first flicker of passion return again. And then it was a very slow return to what became a new normal.”

“When you’re in the stress spiral, your time is not focused. It happens randomly. You just really just let things happen to you. You don’t decide when they’re going to happen. Your energy level is something you’re kind of oblivious to, other than feeling exhausted most of the time, and then your priorities continually get hijacked by other people.”

“My fifties have been a lot easier for me than my forties have been. In the forties I was chasing down my demons. I was looking at the shadow side of my leadership. I was staring into my character. I was trying to figure out the patterns that I’m now talking to you about.”

“I was scared that if I went in and did the soul work that God was calling me to do, then God would take away the magic potion that was making everything grow.”

“What I’ve realized on the other side is that God wasn’t taking my drive away. He was redeeming it.”

“​​I have to get better at trusting God, that he can be trusted with my soul.”

“I regularly ask the people around me, ‘How do you think I’m doing?’ But then for my internal assessment and I think this is transportable, I would look at five categories and the term I would use to evaluate those five categories would be ‘margin.’ How much margin do you have?”

“That’s probably the hardest thing for me, is just to say no on a regular basis because I would like to say yes to everything. And so what I’ve done is we’ve developed a really good template for saying no. The joke with our staff is I pay a couple of our staff just to say no all day long.”

“Because life is a series of repeated patterns, I basically have the same week all the time unless I’m on the road.”

“Blank space in your calendar is a trap. It looks like freedom, but it’s jail disguised as liberty.”

“I know that I thrive when it’s 12 to 15 commitments a week. Below 12, I get bored. Over 15, I start to get overwhelmed. So maybe that’s a lower capacity than some people, but it works fine for me.”

“So much of what threatens to overtake your life as a pastor comes with a label of an emergency.”

“​​I know so many families that have suffered because the pastor can’t say no.”

“When you train a church not to be dependent on you entirely and learning to be independent or interdependent and dependent on God, that’s what allows you to reach more people.”

Mentioned in the Show

At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor” by Carey Nieuwhof
Connexus Church

Check out Carey’s website
Follow Carey on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

John Mark Comer

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.