The Formula for Busting Ministry Burnout

By Michael C. Mack

Leadership Journal asked its readers, “Have you experienced burnout in ministry?” (Winter 2014). While the results show a high degree of leader burnout, the good news is that more than half of the respondents are either enduring the challenges of burnout or have dealt successfully with it. Here is how readers responded:


Christian counselor, author, and speaker John Townsend has provided a cure for leadership burnout using the following mathematical structure:


In an ideal world, he says, a leader should have resources that equal, or exceed, responsibilities. But a large number of responsibilities with very few resources makes a situation that breeds frustration and burnout.

To deal successfully with burnout, a leader can reduce his responsibilities, increase his resources, or both. Of course, the spiritual leader’s best and most powerful resource is God. However, Townsend suggests, a leader might be overlooking people who could be potential resources. Share leadership with a team and allow more people into leadership roles; this will both increase your resources and decrease your responsibilities.


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