How to Overcome Ministry Burnout

Bestselling authors Justin and Trisha Davis share four ways to avoid the big burnout.

I’ve struggled with burnout several times and in several seasons of life and ministry. Some seasons of burnout were fixed by a vacation or a weekend away. Other seasons of burnout were accompanied by a deep depression and an inability on my part to “fix” it.

A few months ago, I found myself in the latter place. Tired. Depressed. Unmotivated. Exhausted. Grouchy. Spiritually dry. I could feel it.

Our book released in January; our travel schedule went bonkers; I transitioned to a part-time role at Cross Point; our kids’ sports schedule was hectic. I felt burnt out.

Then we went on vacation. In my mind, this would fix me. This was just what I needed. This would reset my energy level and fill my tank.

But it didn’t.

I’ve lived most of my Christian life believing I was in control of burnout. I believed I could do certain things to avoid it, or if I wasn’t wise enough to avoid it, then I could do certain things to overcome it.

Vacation didn’t work. But I have a formula. I have a “get out of burnout jail free” plan:

1. Guard my calendar and don’t overcommit.

2. Set boundaries and don’t open my computer or check email in the evening.

3. Go out on dates with Trish.

4. Spend extra time with the boys.

5. Take a day off.

6. Have a quiet time.

7. Pray more.

8. Read the Bible more.

These things will fix me.

A few weeks after vacation, I remember praying this prayer, “God I am doing all of these things and I’m still exhausted. Why aren’t you showing up? I’m doing my part, you need to do yours. Re-energize me.”

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Justin & Trisha Davis
Justin and Trisha Davis returned to ministry in 2009 following a four year journey of restoration. They use their story of pain, loss and redemption to bring hope and healing to couples all over the country.