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Weariness in Ministry

Weariness in Ministry
Author: Wilson Suwanto
Posted on: 2014-12-27 01:00:59

Evangelist Julia Suwanto discusses a chronic issue among church members: weariness in ministry. In this interview, she briefly discusses the symptoms and mindsets that characterize those who are experiencing fatigue in ministry. She touches on why many feel weary in ministry offers sound advices on how to address the issue.

Q: What are the signs of tiredness or weariness in ministry?
A: One who is tired and weary in ministry will experience decreased focus in ministry and starts to forget the reason why he serves in the first place. He will have an impatient attitude towards others and blames others
for the problems in ministry. There is a loss of joy in ministry as it becomes a burden and an obligation to him.


Q: What is the mindset of one who is weary in ministry?
A: Weariness in ministry is often the outward expression of a spiritual problem. Usually, the tired servant perceives that God is weighing him down with many burdens for ministry. He views God as one who demands his service without love or care for him. Similarly, he views others as demanding of his service and did not actually care for him. His thoughts are focused on himself and his situation. He does not have room to think of God and others.

Perhaps this tired servant is being given too many burdens and responsibilities by others within the church. He could have turned down those responsibilities by saying no and offering a clear explanation. He does not have to take on more than he can bear. He is like one who lives under the Law; although as a believer he is actually under Grace. He feels as if he needed to serve to gain God’s favor. He forgets that God has freely given Him grace and forgiveness and that ministry 20 Anniversary 2014 is an expression of gratefulness for His grace.

Q: What are the outward behaviors of one who is weary in ministry?
A: A tired servant often comes late and leaves quickly once he has finished his duties. Often he will avoid interacting with large groups of people at a time. He shuns
fellowships, church activities, and other ministries. He also begins to complain about the church and his ministry. He begins to say words that do not build others; and he tends to discredit others.

Q: What are the most common reasons why people grow weary in ministry?
A: Disappointment
One who serves but does not feel appreciated by others will easily become weary. He feels that others do not value his ministry. He feels that he has made many personal sacrifices but did not receive the adequate appreciation he deserves. Although there are instances where it is valid to feel unappreciated; we must remember that the purpose of ministry is to please God. If our ministry goes unappreciated by others, that is because they do not understand the value of our ministry and the personal costs we pay to to serve them. So long as we remember that God is pleased with and values our ministry, there is no need to feel disappointed.

One can become weary when he feels that he is alone in carying his ministry burdens; without the support or good will of others. The first possible scenario is that the spiritual state of others around him has not yet
matured enough so that they can partake in the ministry. The second possible scenario is that the expectations of this weary servant is too high and unrealistic. When he did not receive the support that he had hoped for, he felt disappointed and deserted by others.

Discouragement occurs when the result of ministry is unsatisfying. The dissatisfaction can be caused by a number of things; among these are the lack of praise from others, and receiving many criticisms instead. Dissatisfaction can also mean not receiving the recognition or the attention of others. Although we will likely feel discouraged when encountering the above situations, we do not have to feel discouraged. Discouragement neither helps others or ourselves. Discouragement is a symptom of us forgetting to place our hope in God Himself. He will supply the strength and hope we need when we feel discouraged. If we let discouragement fester, it will develop into spiritual weariness.

Q: How should we address weariness in ministry?
A: 1 Kings 17 depicts the prophet Elijah experiencing spiritual weariness in ministry. He just won a major victory over 450 false Baal prophets; after which queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. Elijah was afraid and ran for his life for forty days. He felt that he was at the end of hope and wanted God to take his life. He felt that he was no better than his predecessors. Why did he feel that way?

Elijah felt that he was bearing the burden of ministry in Israel on his own. He thought that he was the only one left who is faithful to God alone and no other. But the truth is that at the time of Elijah, God still had 7000 people who remained faithful to Him.

God strengthened Elijah when he was alone and in a state of complete rest. When we experience spiritual weariness, we will do well to take the time to rest and to reassess how we have gone about in ministry thus far. Pour our hearts to the Lord and let Him restore our strength and hope in Him. We also need to share our ministry burdens with others so that we do not feel isolated and grow weary. We need to be wary of leaving ministry on account of spiritual weariness. We can rest, but do so in order to regain the strength to return to ministry. Many rested from ministry and decided to leave the ministry with a disappointed and saddened heart. Whether we feel disappointed or isolated; we must have the courage to share our struggles with a fellow believer whom we trust. We share the burden so that it becomes lighter. We should not keep the feelings of disappointment and isolation to ourselves because then the burden becomes heavier. Of course, we continue to pray for strength from God.

Q: What can the church do to alleviate its tired servants?
A: There are things that the church can do to prevent its servants from becoming tired and weary:
1. Do not assign ministry burdens that are too many and too frequent for just one person.

2. Set up a regular rotation in ministry so that one person does not feel over-burdened by many responsibilities.

3. Train the younger generation who are not steadily involved in ministry. There’s a tendency (or laziness) to either train new people because they are easier to control, or to rely heavily on “old-timers.” Because they are too heavily relied upon, some of these “old-timers” become burned out in ministry.

4. Match the ministry to the man power capacity that is available. If one wants to put on a special event, think of how many people can realistically be involved to make it a reality. Sometimes we must say no to putting on special events because that special event involves so much man power that it becomes disruptive to other ministries.

5. Show appreciation and express gratitude for the hard work of those who serve; especially those who serve behind the scenes. Those who serve in magazine publications, sound systems, and websites are often characterized by willingness to make personal sacrifices and a heart of humility in serving. Very rarely do they receive appreciation or be publicly recognized for their services behind the scenes. As members and caretakers of the church, we must show care and gratitude towards those who serve freely. Paul said that it is to the tasks that appear small that special significance are given. Many enjoy serving in front of others and receiving the recognition that comes with it. We will do well to remember and to appreciate the servants who serve behind the scenes.