3 Steps to Avoid Burnout


It’s no surprise that the average pastor lasts just 2.5 years before moving on to something different.

It’s easy to feel the pressure of meeting the needs of all the people around you. If we aren’t careful our ministry will be driven by the need and not by the call.

In other words, when was the last time that we prayed and asked God if He was inviting us into a situation? Leader, please take caution, being driven by the need is a pathway towards burnout. There will always be a need, and we can’t do it all.

As we start a new year I think God would have us take a look in the mirror and ask the difficult questions. Has this feeling of being overwhelmed become a lifestyle, or is it just a season? There is a big difference between the two. This question will cause us to grapple and make the necessary changes to lead healthy sustainable ministries.  

So what do we do if we are in a season of feeling burned out?

First, we must begin praying that God would send leaders who we can begin to empower. Most of us struggle to empower leaders around us because we have a control problem. Craig Groeschel says,

“You can have control or you can have growth, but you can’t have both.”

Leaders, we must relinquish control and start empowering the people God has placed around us. We have become the lid to our organizations and it’s time for us to make the necessary changes so we can grow.

I love the quote that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We will always go further together than we ever will on our own – and that starts with trusting your team.

Rich Wilkerson Jr. recently said, “The math of collaboration is always multiplication. One can put 1,000 to flight and two can put 10,000 to flight.” Do you see how things work in God’s economy?

I was recently reading in Matthew 10 when Jesus empowers his twelve disciples by sending them out to carry out His mission. He gives us a couple clear principles that we can begin applying if we want to grow in empowering the people around us. Consider this our roadmap to avoid burnout.



In Matthew 10:1 it says, “Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and heal every kind of disease and illness.”

Jesus called a team meeting with the purpose of giving away authority. He was giving them full authority, not to do the grunt work, but to perform all the same miracles He had been performing up to this point.

There is obviously wisdom in not laying hands too early, but I don’t think our issue is always laying hands too early but rather withholding authority due to our struggle with control and fear.

As you activate your faith and begin delegating authority to your team, you will begin to experience joy unspeakable. It’s so fulfilling and rewarding to be a part of helping people step into their gifts and flourish. If we are going to avoid burnout we must give authority to the leaders God has placed around us.



In Matthew 10:5 it says, “Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions…”

This struck me because I have realized that I do a poor job at giving clear instructions when I am delegating. Dave Ramsey puts it this way, “It is unkind to be unclear.”

Ultimately, when we are unclear we are setting ourselves up to live in the discontentment gap – the painful space between our expectations and reality. This gap can be closed if we would only emulate what Jesus did and give clear instructions to our teams.  

I recently came across the five levels of delegation by Michael Hyatt and it has become a great resource for our team. It has really clarified our communication when it comes to empowering the people around us to take responsibility and be successful.

This framework will help us more effectively empower and delegate to the leaders around us.


Level 1 | Do exactly what I have asked you to do. Don’t deviate from my instructions. I have already researched the options and determined what I want you to do.

Level 2 | Research the topic and report back. We will discuss it, and then I will make the decision and tell you what I want you to do.

Level 3 | Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation. Give me the pros and cons of each option, but tell me what you think we should do. If I agree with your decision, I will authorize you to move forward.

Level 4 | Make a decision and then tell me what you did. I trust you to do the research, make the best decision you can, and then keep me in the loop. I don’t want to be surprised by someone else.

Level 5 | Make whatever decision you think is best. No need to report back. I trust you completely. I know you will follow through. You have my full support.

We must be committed to giving clear instruction when empowering the leaders around us. If we will make a practice of this, we will eliminate frustration and the leaders in our organizations will stay healthy for the long haul.



After Jesus gave His team clear instructions, He sent them out on a mission. The disciples must have left their meeting feeling a deep sense of trust from Jesus. He didn’t give them authority and then helicopter over them. He was confident in His investment and the clear instructions He sent them out with.

Jesus modeled follow through and we must do the same. This is when the rubber meets the road. We have to be willing to let the people around us fly and even fail at times. Great leaders know how to give freedom and coach when it’s necessary. When you start modeling this for your team you will experience momentum like never before.

If you want to shift the culture in your organization, it starts with you. The easiest way to build culture is to carry it well.

Take some time over the next few weeks to sit down and ask yourself the tough questions. Consider who God has put around you and begin praying about how you can give away some of your authority.

Call a team meeting and give your team clear instructions. This has to happen if we are going to stay in ministry for the long haul and be race finishers! Our callings are too big and our God is too good for us to live our entire lives feeling burned out.

Let’s begin taking the necessary steps to become healthier leaders and trust that Jesus will fill in the gaps.


Mike O’Connell

@mike ___oconnell

Youth Pastor

Love Church