When Church Feels Like a Chore
By: Rev. Dr. Anna Hall
Does it feel like everyone in your congregation is weary? Are events and mission projects poorly attended? Have some volunteers been doing the same thing for years and can’t take on anything new or take a break?
I am seeing these tendencies in many churches that come to Convergence for assessments right now. Everyone is just plain tired. They want to see the congregation live into God’s call for their future, but they are too weary or burned out to invest time and energy into getting there. What then? What is the way forward for congregations suffering from collective burnout?
To explore these questions and more, I recently had some great conversations with my own pastor, the Rev. Melanie Vaughn-West of Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, GA, about what social justice churches need in 2023. She wrote about those conversations in her article over on the Alliance of Baptists blog, What Do Social Justice Christians Need?
I’ll excerpt a particularly relevant bit here, but I encourage you all to click through and read the rest.
What do social justice Christians need? We need each other. We need regular connection to one another and to be invited to participate in each other’s lives. We need to rest and be affirmed that rest is holy. We need to play together. We need to laugh…a lot, because life is hard and that helps. We need to come together to find joy in the midst of reality. We need to be present for one another in the difficult storms of life. We need to be truly intergenerational in all we do. We need our siblings in faith to affirm God’s light shining through us. We need to be encouraged and nurtured for the justice work we are already doing.
The best recipe for healing burnout is adding more connection and rest and yes, laughter. We have to laugh together, even and especially in the midst of all the suffering in the world. We have to love each other first before we ask one another to give more of our weary selves. I do hope you’ll click on over and read all of Melanie’s insights about how our congregation is going to try to practice connection and rest to break through burnout.
If you’d like a conversation partner for thinking through burnout and other church issues, I’d love to chat. You can book time with me through my Calendly or shoot me an email at email@example.com.