I am working on a talk for pastors and church leaders regarding the problem of conflict with parishioners. One of the surprises for pastors is that Kingdom work means facing attacks from those who are supposed to be on the same side. We know from work with military, NGOs, and missionaries that the most difficult aspect of personal sacrifice is not threats from outside but lack of support from supposed friends and teammates.
So, when a pastor finds him or herself in a conflicted situation and feels burned out, where might that pastor turn? There are a couple of local options for help:
1. C4ML Coaching. As a mission of Biblical Seminary, Mick Noel provides coaching regarding matters of leadership and church culture. His coaching isn’t a substitute for counseling or needed retreat but Rev. Noel is keenly aware of burn-out and church conflicts and can guide the pastor in making a plan to address leadership matters in the church. C4ML also provides opportunities for small cohorts of pastors to meet to discuss how to handle culture change in the church and wider community.
2. ServingLeaders. David Wiedis is an attorney and counselor who provides coaching, consultation, and counseling for ministry leaders. The link will connect you to his thoughts on burn-out.
3. You might consider preventing such burnout by doing some education/personal work with a new ministry called, The Identity School for Christian Ministry. Rev. Bob Miller is offering material he believes is absent from most MDiv programs but necessary for survival in the pastorate. The courses are described on the website and run for 2 days at a time.
4. Retreats. There are a number of locations that provide retreats. Use your search engine to discover these. Some are low cost, some are free if they accept your application. Some leave you alone while others provide counseling and/or coaching. While retreats are good in that they provide a break, unless there is a change in how the situation is being approached, the pastor should not expect miracles.
5. Counseling. Lastly, a good spiritual director or counselor ought to be able to guide the pastor in personal assessment, re-orienting priorities, and choosing a new response set to the difficult situation.