As a church planter, you’re especially vulnerable to burnout. You’re building your team, working long hours, and wearing many hats. And you’re always "on". That's the perfect recipe for church planter burnout.
While you might get by on adrenaline and caffeine for a few months, that's not sustainable. Even the most enthusiastic church planters can burn out if they're not careful. To help you stay sane, here are a few tips for helping you march on, day after day.
Stay True to Your Vision
Of course, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Make sure the items on your to-do list are necessary to further your vision and goals. It’s easy to spread yourself so thin you become inefficient. To fight that, try crosschecking your tasks against your vision and purpose so you can remain aligned with what’s important.
Do the "One Thing"
It’s also easy to become overwhelmed when you focus on the number of items on your to-do list. Instead, identify ONE item on that list that will make all the other tasks easier or even unnecessary. Identify the most important, essential item on your list and tackle it head on without being bogged down by the trivial things. (Click this link to read more about this method of prioritizing).
Create a Daily Plan and Prioritize Your Time
One sure-fire way to feel like you’re not accomplishing anything is to face the day without a plan. Take the time create a plan for the day as soon as you arrive at the church or after you wrap up your day, for the following day. Block out time for the most imperative or time-consuming projects first. Then, schedule the rest of your day. From most important to least important, schedule when you’ll tackle the jobs at hand. What should you do about the tasks that are left over? Keep reading!
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
You can’t be all things to all people, nor can you be in multiple places at once. It’s true that your church plant may not be as fully staffed as it will be one day. But you do have access to like-minded individuals committed to building your community. Lean on these folks! You might feel hesitant to outsource tasks because you worry you will be burdensome. But the opposite is true. When you delegate responsibility to your team, you’re empowering them. You’re giving them a vote of confidence that you trust them. You also cement their loyalty to your cause and free up your own time to focus on things that you can’t delegate.
Give Yourself Permission to Say “No”
You’ve started a church plant … it goes against everything you believe in to say “no” when someone asks for your help. The fact is, there are only 24 hours in each day. As much as you wish otherwise, that’s not going to change. You need to sleep, eat, and spend time with your family, and alone with God. Those non-negotiables cut into your available hours. It’s counterproductive to say yes to everything. Every time you say “yes” to something that’s not critical, you’re essentially saying no to things that are. So be comfortable saying “no” when you need to. (Click here to read more about saying no to unimportant things)
Be Intentional With Boundaries
Achieving balance in life is important for you and your family. It also allows you to clear your head and gain new perspectives that can help you become a better leader. To achieve balance, set concrete boundaries such as, “I will leave the office by 6 p.m.,” or “I will make each Sunday afternoon family time.” Obviously, life gets in the way of the best-laid plans. Unexpected things happen. Be flexible, but make sure when you break your rule, you find ways to repay your family and yourself for the time.
Last but not least: don't let the work of God ruin the work of God in you. With so much work ahead, it's easy to lose sight of why the journey started in the first place. Feeling overworked and overwhelmed by the tasks ahead can take the big picture out of focus. Remember it's not all up to you. Take time to rest and stay connected to your family, your city, and most importantly, to the one who called you here in the first place.