Pastoral care combats fatigue and burnout in ministry.

By March 24, 2006

International (MNN)–For Young Life, vision is meeting kids where they are, winning the right to be heard and sharing the Good News relationally.

But, working with young people during the most turbulent times of their lives can be exhausting and lead to burnout. Young Life’s Bill Paige says discouragement is the real threat. “I’ve seen it with myself when I’ve become tired, when I’ve become depleted. You have to be careful for sin issues showing up in your own life because you’ve not built yourself up or allowed the Lord to have His way with your life.”

He likens this scenario to that of the emergency procedure in an airplane. If pressure drops in the cabin, oxygen masks fall before the passengers. Flight attendents always remind the passengers to place the masks over their own faces before caring for children.

The logic behind that is to keep the adult conscious long enough to help the child through the crisis–so they have the strength to be a credible help.

Paige takes that example a step further. He says it’s critical for those in ministry to take time to renew themselves in order to remain effective in their work.

Pastoral care is a term generally applied to the practice of looking after the personal and social wellbeing of children under the care of a teacher.

Aside from pastoral care, Paige says it’s important for a ministry team to combat burnout together. It’s how the body of Christ works. “I think Young Life, all across the mission, we try to hold ourselves accountable, have people holding each other accountable, but it doesn’t always work that way. I think have to be willing to be vulnerable, transparent and honest about their own well-being. I think because we do things in the name of the Lord, that we think that we’re impervious to all these kinds of issues and struggles.”

Those involved in this venue are in the critical work of support…the unsung heroes. For them it’s all about encouraging the welfare and spiritual health of those who do this ministry, so that they can work out of a consistent and growing relationship with Christ and His followers.

Together, functioning as a whole, the group aims to nurture kids so they might grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of God’s Word and become people who can share their faith with others.

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