top of page

If A Mega Church Pastor Can’t Do it All… Why The Heck Can You?

It’s all over the news that a “successful megachurch” pastor stood in front of his congregation this weekend and told them,

“Leaders who lead on empty don’t lead well…. For some time, Ive been leading on empty…. I think the best thing for Cross Point and for me is for me to step aside. And so I’m resigning…“

As I hear the news (For some time I’ve loved Pete Wilson’s books and authentic approach to his work), I am deeply saddened. And, honestly, even a bit angered! My wife Mindy’s response when I sent her a link to the news was “It’s not okay. The system needs to change.” I agree! Christianity Today in it’s article says, Epidemic: Another Pastor Burned Out and Quit Last Sunday. “This year, thousands will leave the ministry, burned out and hurting. From big and small churches and stagnant ones.”

“It wasn’t meant to be this way… No one person is capable of being the preacher, teacher, vision-caster, CEO, leaders, evangelist, soul-winner, fundraiser, marriage counselor, and all around paragon of virtue that we expect pastors to pull off…”

This whole thing has been on my mind and it applies not just to megachurch pastors but to many leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, and workers. If I had the courage and the authenticity myself 15 or so years ago,I would have done the same thing as Pastor Pete Wilson. As a senior pastor of a church in the Boston area, I wrestled deeply with burnout and “empty.” I felt something was really wrong. I just didn’t know what to do about it.. and I thought it must just be me! And I was embarrassed. So I never stood up and shared my own personal burn out and “I’ve been leading on empty for some time” confession for fear or being judged, being found out or being seen as weak or inadequate…. So I came up with things like, “God must be leading me to other things….” kind of approach. You see, for years, I too thought I needed to be great at teaching, preaching, writing, fundraising, leading teams, sharing the gospel, managing a staff, and being a paragon of love and godliness… all while being a family man, provider and having faith myself.

Why is that??

In leading a church for ten years, I came to a place of burnout …. and wondered whether God still even existed. I hated my life and resented the people in my church. Pretty lousy way to live! Agree!

So, is this just pastors or have pastor furthered the myth that’s hurting many of us that says, “Doing more is better?” And “When you prove you can do it all you're better.” “More and bigger is better.” If “success” as a pastor means more, better, bigger and shinier, than what kind of message is that sending to the world about what Jesus really taught?

Is that what Jesus really came to build on earth or is this the American form of celebrity and bigger than life leaders culture of do it all super-heroes?

But, Jeff, shouldn’t pastor’s be the model of productivity? Should they be the ones working more since they’re doing it for God?

NO! Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson recently said, “Productivity isn't about getting the most things done, it’s about getting the right things done.”

What are those right things?

We must all answer that! 

The application of this to all come back to something that’s making it’s way through business culture right now…. called Essentialism and being championed by people including Greg McKeown. In a recent talk in San Diego, McKewon said,

“We’ve bought into a mindset that causes us to adopt the undisciplined pursuit of more… Instead, we must choose to focus, simplify and identify and focus on the DISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF LESS, BUT BETTER.”

How? Sound right! …. Well first, it means you and me being OK to not listen to my mom… (or maybe your mom?”

My mom would say, “You can do it! You can do anything!”

And that felt so good to hear.. and her intentions were so good…. But Mom was wrong on this!

  • I can’t do “anything.”

  • You can’t do “anything.”

Instead, the none of us is as good all of us! You can do what you were uniquely born, gifted and called to do. That's more than enough!

Do you know that that is? Clearly? Accurately? Unapologetically?

Here are four critical ways to QUIT doing it all and do you’re thing.

1. Explore what you MUST uniquely do.

Get to the 2 or maybe 3 things… (Click to receive a complmentary tool I created to help you do just that called "10 Ways to Restore Your Sweet Spot")

2. Eliminate all that'd doesn’t fit.

Just say “no!’ It’s really OK to say “no” to the right things.

3. Execute on what you can and must do.

When you’re in your sweet spot for MOST of the time, you won’t burn out. Just truth here. Your work or leadership will actually feel fun, freeing and productive. Do you believe that?

4. Care for your soul and your self-leadership as a first and primary priority.

When you’re fully alive and free, you’re gonna bring the best to your people and help them become more alive and free! Invest in that part of you! Make that a goal... a key linchpin to all else!

1 view0 comments


bottom of page