A few years ago, I jumped from volunteering in a college ministry to working on staff at a church, starting up a small-group ministry. I had grown to love ministry through my volunteer time, and I felt ready to dive head first into this new adventure.
But out of the blue, I found myself feeling lonely. I was surrounded by people getting to know me, the new staff person at church. I led three different small groups in the hopes of apprenticing new leaders. I regularly hosted activities in our home. Despite being surrounded by others, though, I was lonely.
I struggled with how I could have enjoyed ministry in the college setting so much and how lonely I felt now, only a few months later. What had changed?
As I spent time in prayer, I began to realize that while I was surrounded by people, I hadn't surrounded myself with a few of the most important people: those who don't look to me as a leader but as a friend. That was the major difference between my time volunteering and my time on staff. Without a few close, non-ministry friends, I felt overwhelmingly isolated.
Jenni Catron shares a similar story on our sister blog, Gifted for Leadership, and she points out that leaders need to surround themselves with encouragers and challengers. Read her post and let us know what you think.
If we truly believe in the necessity and power of community, we need to go first and surround ourselves with a close community of people willing to hold us up as we minister.
If you're feeling lonely and burned out, use our resource to get back on track.