Men in the ministry need to be careful to not burnout. What are some things they can do to prevent and combat against burning out and being of no use in the ministry?
There are some practical things in this work of being a pastor in the way of not burning out. You want to be there over the long haul. Charles and Dick - they had a celebration up there at Lake Road. Forty years in the ministry back then. It's forty-plus now. That's what you want long term. Survive as long as God would have you there. There are maybe some practical things that help someone to survive in the work of the ministry that are sometimes overlooked. I guess I could just offer that in consideration. I've been told by some to take a day off. Take one day out of the week as a pastor and make it a day off. I was initially reluctant to do that, but I have adopted that. Tim and Ruby Conway suggested that to me in concern for me during the hard times that we were going through, and it was very helpful. I'm so thankful they did. During that time off, I don't hold to it as something that is binding in the sense that if someone had an emergency, I would turn my back on them. It's not like that. But my focus on that day off is different. I don't pore over the books on that day off. You know, Solomon said excessive attention to books is wearying to the body. We need a day off during that time. And so I don't pore over the books quite like I would normally on that day off. I tend to do things that are more recreational. I like landscaping and flowers. I am a fan of - a supporter of - a hobby for a man to have; a pastor to have. Something that's mindless. Something that he enjoys doing. I think that helps. It helps the emotional; it helps the mind to relax and unwind. You can't keep that heart strung tight all the time. You've got to let the strings loose sometimes. And so I have flowers. I like to shoot guns and do things like that. Something relaxing, something that lets the mind go. Those are helps to avoid burnout. It helps to get physical exercise for a man in the ministry. The way that I'm wired, for some reason, I've got to have some intense physical exercise on a regular basis or I start feeling low and lethargic and not doing very well. So I go to the gym. I do CrossFit myself. Others might go on walks or others might take up running. I had a lot of benefit from running when I was able to do it. The Lord just came to me and cleared my thoughts. Sermons ordered themselves on a nice run. So those kinds of things really help in the way of not being burned out and maintaining some sort of mental resilience, emotional resilience in the work of the ministry. Kind of an attitude of outlasting problems. A hunker-down kind of an attitude. The Lord will help me through it. We'll endure it. It's just a season. We can get through it. We tend to think it's going to be the end of us, you know. So the Lord helps in those ways too.
James: Any other practical things or those kind of the ones you had on your mind?
Clint: We need to be able to get rest. We've got to be able to sleep. If you can't sleep, you're going to go down hill in a hurry emotionally. You've got to be able to get some rest and sleep. Keep regular hours. Not burn the midnight oil - up all night trying to prepare a sermon for Sunday or something. That might be an emergency situation, but it ought not to be the regular. There's no reason why the Lord can't bring a sermon on Monday, and it doesn't have to come on Saturday. So I start in the work early. If Monday's my day off, I might not give any thought to it on Monday, but when Tuesday comes, I start working on what I need to speak on in the following Sunday. I don't want to arrive at Saturday and not have anything. It's too stressful for me. That's me. Other men are really able to do that, but I'm not. I'm too weak for that approach. I've got to start early.
James: Me too.
Clint: And so that's where I'm at. Learn to compartmentalize. That helps. In other words, here's this issue or here's this thing I need to think about, but I'm not going to think about it now. I'm going to think about it two days from now. When two days are up, then I'll think about it. In the meantime, I'll let my mind rest. Compartmentalize. It's maybe just a mind game, but it helps. And then, don't lie to yourself. When that day comes, take it up and begin to think about it seriously. But in the meantime, as best you're able, don't think about it then. It's a challenge because problems - they tyrannize your mind. They take over. You can't ignore a T-Rex, you know, in the dinosaur world. And so problems become like that. They're hard to ignore. But in reality, we're not ignoring it. We're just postponing the time when we're going to put the energy into it. That's I guess what I mean by compartmentalizing. It's a trick that's helpful when it comes to not burning out and lasting.