When Ministry Overwhelms, this Tool Can Help

overwhelmedMinistry burnout, overload, and destructive stress lead to an abysmal survival rate for pastors today.  For 20 years a friend of mine followed 105 pastors and discovered that only half remained in ministry. Many other statistics bear witness to the high fallout rate for pastors. Burnout, moral collapse, and the weight of ministry has shattered many dreams for Kingdom impact.

No pastor ever begins ministry with a goal to end up as a casualty of it. Unfortunately, unless many make systemic changes to their hearts and ministry pace, they too will end up a statistic. But, if you feel yourself on the road to burnout you can change your trajectory through this simple yet life-transforming exercise.

As I begin my new role from serving as a senior pastor to serving other pastors through coaching them and consulting their churches, I’ve used a tool that many coaches use to help people regain balance. It’s called a “Life Balance Wheel.”

wheel of lifeIt had its origins in the Middle Ages when few could read. Etched on many cathedrals, it visually represented the cycle of daily life: happiness, loss, suffering, and hope. For most people life offered little hope and the carved images instructed the common person about the inevitable change process in life.

Today we use the life balance wheel in a more positive way. It takes many forms, but this example captures its essence.

balance wheel

Each piece of the pie represents an area of life. Within that area the scale rates your satisfaction with that part of your life.

Here’s how to use it to help regain balance and deal with life’s pressures in a more intentional way.

  1. Google “Wheel of  Life” and you’ll find many free printable templates.
  2. After you print it out, circle your level of satisfaction within in each area of your life.
  3. Connect the dots to see how balanced or imbalanced you have described your life.
  4. Pick one or two areas in which you feel least satisfied.
  5. Describe what life would look like if your satisfaction in those areas increased to an “8”
  6. List five specific steps you could take in each area that could help you move to an “8”
  7. Give each step a specific date when you will take the step.
  8. Make yourself accountable to someone to help you regain balance. A good coach trained in the life balance wheel would be a good investment.

This simple tool could have profound implications for your future, your family, and your ministry. Right now schedule an hour this week to complete the exercise and see how God could use it in your life.

In my most recent book 5 Minister Killers and How to Defeat Them I deal with this issue extensively. You can read a free chapter here.

If you’ve used the life balance wheel before, what have you found helpful?


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