R & R

Pastors burn out. Communities of faith disintegrate.

So... pastors relax! It is wise for pastors to resist pressures to be something they are not. Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest! Pastors: rest! No longer comply to what others think you should be or what you yourself think you should be. You've been called just as you are to be exactly who you are. Relax. Rest in that.

Pastors, conversely: let your people relax. Let them rest. Do not ask them to be something they are not. Resist shaping them. Relieve them of all expectations. Let them come in and go out and find pasture. Do not make them more weary than they are. Do not lay one demand on their shoulders. They have divine permission to gather just as they are. Do not try to manipulate them into what you think they should be or what your tradition thinks they should be. Let them relax.

People, resist all pressures to become something you are not. Even if you are weary and heavy laden, still find the strength to be exactly who you are. Do not be condemned. Do not even judge yourself! You've been called just as you are to be exactly who you are. It is you that is loved, not the ideal you, but you... right now. Rest in that reality.

People, resist all temptations to wish your pastor to be something she is not. You've been brought together. Let your pastor rest. Do not try to shape him. Do not lay expectations or demands on her shoulders. Let him discover what it means for him to be a pastor in this particular situation. She may be weary or heavy laden. Do not pressure her. Enjoy the gift of each other's company.

I am convinced that if we lift our expectations off of one another, our faith communities will become healthier places, composed of healthy pastors and healthy members. Burn out and disintegration will decrease.


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