Take time to learn from others—whether spending time with people directly, searching through articles, reading books, or listening to podcasts. The more you invest in yourself and invest in your continued development as a leader, the less likely burnout will happen. When you are constantly learning and growing, you won’t depend on “the same old things”—which is a major cause of burnout. Keeping insights, ideas, and methods fresh and innovative fosters exciting leadership.
Leaders, permit me to share one final, important consideration—we need you. The church needs you to help bring the Good News of Jesus to others. My life was forever changed because of dedicated small-group leaders and mentors who helped me experience Jesus. I’m sure you have a similar story. We need you. Don’t give up. Don’t allow burnout to be the final word of your ministry and leadership story. If you are finding yourself on the verge of burnout (or worse), start taking the necessary steps right now to regain the strength and perspective you need, even if it means taking an extended leadership Sabbath and stepping back from leadership for a season—for the sake of your own physical and spiritual health.
I’ve experienced leadership burnout, but I’m working to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Friends, I hope you will do the same.
—Ryan Schaible is director of student ministries at Good Shepherd Church in Naperville, Illinois, and has been leading small groups and small-group leaders for nearly 15 years.