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Sean Nemecek on the ‘Long, Slow Slide’ Into Burnout and How Pastors Can Avoid It

Sean Nemecek
Photo courtesy of Sean Nemecek

Sean Nemecek was a pastor for 18 years and now works to bring hope and health to hurting pastors and their families as the West Michigan Regional Director for Pastor-in-Residence Ministries. He is a clergy coach and co-host of the Hope Renewed Podcast. Sean’s new book is, “The Weary Leader’s Guide to Burnout: A Journey from Exhaustion to Wholeness.”

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Key Questions for Sean Nemecek

-How do you define burnout, and how does it impact the lives of church leaders?

-What are some of the warning signs that a pastor is burning out? 

-What are some markers of health on the other side of burnout?

-Is it possible for church leaders never to experience burnout? How?

Key Quotes From Sean Nemecek

“Burnout, to me, is really just a total depletion of self that comes from a toxic work culture. It’s really rooted in the culture, the work environment that’s created by the church.”

“We know a lot of pastors just swim in criticism, and over time those small cuts can lead to a large wound that really impacts the pastor on a deep level.”

“When I find a pastor who’s in that shame spiral because of the anxiety, whether it be from the weekly preaching or conflict in the church, that is really what sucks a pastor down into burnout really quickly.”

“We all have those seasons where we have to put a huge amount of effort into a short time span. At the end of that season, we’re tired, we’re exhausted. We may even feel a little depressed from the energy output, but in general, we’re satisfied with the work that we’ve done. Really, what happens in burnout is there’s a sense of frustration, anxiety, shame…it’s more of a long, slow slide that happens. It’s little decisions over a long period of time that usually lead a pastor to this place.”