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I'm feeling some serious burnout! How can I recover from burnout while still  actively serving in church as a bible study teacher and leading the hospitality department? I've asked for time off, but this hasn't been permitted. Does anyone have advice, from the side of a lay person or church staff, for how to navigate burnout amongst church volunteers? What are good practices for supporting volunteers like me, as well as tips for how to communicate well with my church's leadership?


First of all Grace, I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling so burnt out. That is a really hard place to serve from. I work as a Regional Connector for Thrive and a main focus of my work recently has been leading workshops on volunteering. The more I lean into this conversation, the more I hear from people experiencing burn out. I want to just start by saying that Covid 19 was extremely hard on the volunteer world globally. It isn't just in churches we are hearing of burnout - it's a global issue. There are many reasons for it, but all that to say - it is very real. I am so glad you are naming it. I think we need more open and honest conversations on it in our churches so we can navigate this reality in a better way.

To answer your question - how can I recover while still serving: I would encourage further conversations with your team. I firmly believe everyone needs to take a Sabbath. What has this looked like for you? What does this look like for volunteers within your church? Often in churches we are trying to maintain systems that were set in place pre-covid that are not necessarily functioning well post-covid. I encourage churches to asses their resources (volunteer numbers) and then look at their programing. Do the numbers work? Often, post-covid - we need to think creatively in ways we did not need to pre-covid. 

When we are serving in ministries to further the work of our churches, I firmly believe God wants us to be able to serve well. Are we resting well to serve well? Are we being spiritually filled so we can represent Christ to those we are serving in a volunteer capacity? I am happy to have further conversations about volunteering. Please feel free to reach me at [email protected]. As a regional connector I am happy to connect 1:1 or talk about doing a workshop in churches so we can explore ways that we can work together as the body of Christ to serve our church communities well.

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