Health of a Leader

Posted on December 27th, 2011

I work with a lot of church leaders. One thing I’ve discovered, if they let me get close enough inside their real world, is that many are hurting. They are facing burnout. They are tired. Many are worn down from carrying the stress of everyone else, yet finding few people they can trust with whom to share their burdens. They face the pressure of dysfunctional leadership and the loneliness of being a leader. I suspect this can be found in all fields of leadership (and life) and isn’t limited to being a pastor.

The bigger question is, however… Does any of this describe you?

Not sure? I’m using my counseling degree for this one, but I encourage you to answer a few questions:

  • Do you discipline yourself with adequate time to rest?
  • Do you feel your home life is balanced with your work life?
  • Do you sleep well at night?
  • Are you able to accomplish all that is required of you?
  • Do you make decisions out of confidence? (or are you living in fear?)

If you answered “No” to one of these there may be issues of concern, in my opinion, and you should consider exploring ways to answer “Yes’. If you have 2 or more “No” answers, please consider taking definite steps to being healthier as a leader.

Still not sure if you are healthy as a leader? Answer these questions:

  • Do you worry excessively?
  • Are you having physical problems, such as excessive weight gain, headaches, or muscle tension due to stress or inactivity?
  • Have you recently or frequently had thoughts that you are inadequate?
  • Are you more irritable than normal, less patient or do you have a “short-fused” temper?
  • Have you been more impulsive, irrational or felt more scattered with the decisions you make than usual?

Again, one “Yes” answer may be enough for concern, but if you have two or more, I would encourage you to take action for your own well-being.

Here are 5 suggestions, which may help:

  • Stop everything for a couple days to fast and pray.
  • Read this post about pastor burnout.
  • Make (and keep) an appointment with a professional therapist.
  • Be honest with a mature friend you trust.
  • Check on the health of your family. (Your stress is most likely having an impact on them.)

How did you do?

Dear Christian leader, don’t risk your calling or your witness because you are unhealthy as a leader. You can drown alone or you can get the help you need. Make a wise choice.

Have you had times in leadership where you had to get help to keep your sanity? What did you do?

 


Ron Edmondson is Lead Pastor of Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tenn.
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