les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Facebook messages

You will probably have gathered that this last weekend has been difficult for the church at Cenon and for the Davey family in its relationship to the church, this time specifically the children.

The church council have been very supportive, someone called to see us, another person phoned and I wrote a very straightforward, gentle email to explain our position to all concerned.

But still Monday morning found me pacing round the table and snapping at Pat. Thankfully we recognised what was going on, she's very patient and it ended in laughter.

And broken sleep.

I never really got that incident in the life of Elijah before. You know, in 1 Kings 19 when having triumphed in the conflict with the prophets of Baal he cracks completely when Jezebel threatens his life.

Now I think I get it.

It isn't a thought-through response, a considered opinion, it isn't even fear, it isn't worry as such.

You just crack. It could be a small thing on top of other big things, or small, persistent, continuous things, but you just can't do it any more.

God's solution is to get Elijah out of there, to get him to rest and to just keep him going.

There are issues to address, but not yet.

Interesting.

I'm not saying for a moment that I am in an Elijah thing.

I'm just saying that perhaps I understand a bit better how people work, and how they stop working.

Anyway, here's something I read the other day - Seven reasons why pastors burn out :

BY THOM S. RAINER, CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
September 28, 2013|5:26 pm
I heard the story again last week. A pastor I know announced his resignation. No moral failure. No severe crisis at the church. No major family problems. No sickness. He was simply burned out. That's how he described it. He said he had gotten to the point that he was having trouble putting one foot in front of the other.
So he quit. Without another job. His church family was stunned.
I admit I haven't seen recent statistics on pastoral burnout but, at least anecdotally, it's high. It seems that hardly a week goes by that I don't hear another story of a burnout victim in pastoral ministry.
Why?
What is unique to this vocation that causes such a dramatic dropout rate? May I suggest seven reasons from the hundreds of cases I've known through the years?
BY THOM S. RAINER, CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
September 28, 2013|5:26 pm
I heard the story again last week. A pastor I know announced his resignation. No moral failure. No severe crisis at the church. No major family problems. No sickness. He was simply burned out. That's how he described it. He said he had gotten to the point that he was having trouble putting one foot in front of the other.
So he quit. Without another job. His church family was stunned.
I admit I haven't seen recent statistics on pastoral burnout but, at least anecdotally, it's high. It seems that hardly a week goes by that I don't hear another story of a burnout victim in pastoral ministry.
Why?
What is unique to this vocation that causes such a dramatic dropout rate? May I suggest seven reasons from the hundreds of cases I've known through the years?
1. The 24/7 mentality. Many pastors can't "turn off" work in their mind. Even on their days off, they are waiting for that next telephone call or next crisis. Thus, they never relax.
2. Conflict. I often heard it said that conflict is not the problem; it's how we handle conflict. That's true to a point. But if church conflict and criticisms are ongoing, pastors wear down. They eventually burn out.
3. Expectations. All pastors would be problem-free if they were omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Of course, no pastor can meet all the expectations of church members. But many try. And they burn out as a result.
4. Unwillingness to let go. Several years ago I was with a pastor who was frantically trying to sort the mail that had just arrived. He was hurrying to go to his next meeting. I asked him why he didn't let someone else take care of some of things he was trying to do. His blank stare was his answer. He quit ministry three months later and never returned.
5. No friends. Many pastors fail to develop meaningful friendships, people with whom they can "let their hair down." Without such outlets, burnout is more likely.
6. Not suited for some tasks. This issue is similar to trying to meet everyone's expectations. First, such attempts are physically impossible. Second, pastors are not equipped to do everything well. But many try and many fail.
7. No life outside the church. I am amazed at the number of pastors who have no meaningful hobbies or recreational activities outside the church. I am less amazed when those pastors burn out and drop out.
Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Anyway, some friends have popped things on Facebook in the past few days that have encouraged me tremendously.

Firstly a colleague who spent some time here learning French said that his son is preparing for believer's baptism. When they asked him when he became a Christian he said "It was when I was 8 in Bordeaux and Alan was preaching and suddenly it all clicked into place."

I read it on the bus and got a few concerned looks for my response...

The second was verses from Isaiah 40 posted this morning by another colleague. It came after another night of punctuated sleep.

We'll get there !

1 comment:

Jacqueline May said...

Think about it. When a pastor gives up, the devil wins!
We cannot give him the chance. Lean on God during these times. Listen to Him and Him alone. Remove anything that can be a foothold for the devil. With love, Jacqueline