The shape and face of today’s church culture has evolved to a place where, by in large, we as Christians don’t appear to be trapped in the 90’s with WOW (Now that’s what I call) Worship CDs, big hair and dusty Microsoft Word clipart. We’re hip, we’re innovative, we’re skillful, we love Jesus and we’re dang talented.
However, as with any job, burnout can easily fizzle our imaginative spark leaving us with yesterday’s ash to work with. In ministry, this can be even more hazardous to our health because our occupation is to be both creative and evangelistic. Our passion should first and foremost be to serve Christ and serve others and when our energies get zapped it’s hard to fulfill that mission.
I’ve arm wrestled with creative burnout many times. Sometimes the scorch is from other people’s expectations, deadlines and pressures that are heaped on my shoulders and other times, I’m the one holding the match. Either way, it’s easy to get singed.
Here are FIVE ways that I have staved away burnout or revitalized after burnout…
REST. We sometimes pride ourselves on our lack of sleep and high caffeine intake, however, rest is vitally important to us in all facets of our lives. When we aren’t getting enough sleep, our bodies are more susceptible to diseases, viruses, annoying grumpiness and general zombie-like behavior. Attempt to get 8 hours of rest each night if possible. After all, God didn’t rest on the 7th day because He needed it, but because He knew we needed a reminder of its importance.
UNPLUG. There is such a thing as technological stress. We’re plugged in all day long, answering phones, sending texts, writing emails, sending Tweets, updating blogs, researching, networking and racking up some serious hours in Cyberland. These plugs can zap our energy quicker and longer than most other culprits. Take an exit off the communication freeway every once in awhile. Take time each day to go outside, engage with someone face to face, read a book or simply sit and just be.
CREATE COMMUNITY. It’s easy to fall into the pitfall of wanting to be the master innovator of whatever it is you’re working on. However, inviting others to be a part of your creative process can take some of the unnecessary stress off your shoulders. There are amazing people and resources right at your fingertips that can be of great service to you and your ministry. No need to struggle and sweat over something when others have their hand out to help.
SAY NO. If you’re like me, you enjoy taking on heaps of projects and responsibilities and may even do so with a smile. After all, it’s your passion and your gift. However, an overload of good intentions can often lead to a creative landmine. When we say yes to everything we risk the craftsmanship of making one or two things really spectacular only to spit out a bunch of things that are mediocre. Saying ‘no’ to someone today may be saying ‘yes’ to something life-changing tomorrow.
NOURISH YOUR SOUL. We need to maintain close communication with the very Creator of creativity. God’s Word feeds our very soul and causes our heart to breathe deep and soak in why it is we do what we do and whom we are doing it for. If we produce innovative designs, breathtaking sermons and clever blogs but miss the mission of Christ, we’re not only depriving ourselves, but we’re selling others around us short.
We, as Christians, are called to be excellent in what we do, the way we do it and how we live it out. Keeping this in mind with every project, creative meeting and To Do list we receive will change our perspective, impact our work and hopefully change our world.
This blog was written as a guest blogger piece on Shawn Wood‘s website.
Shawn is the Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC and the author of “200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One” and “Wasabi Gospel.”