How I Overcame Burnout — Part 4 Accountability and Community

Here’s the quick recap:
I’ve been burned out in ministry before.
You must take responsibility for your spiritual health. This means you must be taking steps everyday to grow closer to Jesus and further from sin.
You can’t always be “ON”. There needs to be times for you to receive at church and you need to honor the sabbath. For me that means one day a week I am off and not thinking about work. This needs to be the same day my wife and kids are off. It’s family fun day and we get to relax and be with each other and friends.
Learn when good enough is good enough. Strive for excellence. That’s the best you can do with your time, talent and tools. Too many times we strive for perfection and it’s based in the sin of pride. Focus on making Jesus look good in our work and our lives. He needs to look good both places.

Let’s finish this series up with our need for accountability and community. Just as our work can get out of balance, we will drift one day at a time from walking with Jesus and away from community and accountability. These relationships with others that go deeper than “How are you doing?” and “shop talk”. These deep relationships are not natural in our culture.

The biggest reason I’ve drifted out of community is my culture is addicted to busyness. We’re lazy and we look for shortcuts. In essence we’re living dietary supplements and Red Bull. Supplements and Red Bull are not bad in moderation. But if you’re skipping meals and just taking vitamins you’re not going to last long. If you’re skipping sleep and relying on Red Bull you’re not going to last long. In addition to a balanced diet and proper sleep, suppliments and Red Bull can be good, even beneficial. Well I have my doubts about Red Bull but I say that while I’m drinking a latte I just made.

The biggest shortcut that affects our relationships is technology. Technology should be a supplement to our relationships, not a replacement. Social networking should add to our relationships, not replace them. For a great book on the dark side of technology and social media check out Shane Hipps book Flickering Pixels. I’ve found great benefit to Twitter because it has allowed me to connect with other church media/ tech guys. It’s resulted in face to face, genuine friendships. Check out Church Tech Director’s Round Table as an example. While technology can keep me in touch with people far away it can also drive me away from those closest to me. Our culture drifts towards connivence instead of community.

The biggest reason I’ve drifted out of accountability is I’m ashamed of sin in my live.. In a culture that’s busy, it’s easy to hide. In a culture that focuses on how you look on the outside, it’s easy to hide. If we’re ashamed of sin in our lives, we hide from intimacy. Small groups are not the solution to overcome shame. I’ve been ashamed of sin in my life and in a small group. But I just put on a front and said I was fine, never admitting to my need of dealing with the hidden sin in my life. It’s not a small group we need it’s the cross of Christ we need. That is where our sins are forgiven and covered in the blood. It’s where we can stand up as Paul says in 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Once I got things right with Jesus I realized my sinfulness pulls me away from God and away from accountability and towards the dark.

1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that ​God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and odo not practice the truth. But ​if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is ​faithful and just to forgive us our sins and ​to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, ​we make him a liar, and ​his word is not in us.

When I got honest about my sin. I brought it to God to be forgiven and talked to my wife and a friend for accountability I found freedom. The power of that hidden sin was broken. The temptation may still come I know I have people I can be honest with. People who love me and will pray for me, encourage me and most of all will call out the sin they see in my life with love. I’ve set up accountability with them. I use x3watch.com on my computers and they can see my iPhone browser history anytime.

Some practical ideas for application:
– Is technology and social media enhancing relationships or tearing them down for you?
– Set up some boundaries for technology/ social media. Have times each day/ each week where you go dark and are not checking email, IM, texting, twitter or facebook. Instead focus on being present with the people you’re with.
– Are you accountable to someone? Are you honest with that person? You need someone of the same gender who you can be honest with. Someone you can trust to love you, accept you and kick your butt to step up and be a man (or woman) when it comes to dealing with sin.
– Is there hidden sin in your life? You need to get real with Jesus. Then begin to walk in the light and confess those sins to someone you can trust.

I pray my story can be an encouragement for you. At the least it’s been very cathartic and freeing to get my story in the light.

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October 23, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Personal Growth. 3 comments.

How I Overcame Burnout — Part 1 Take Responsibility

So my blog post about my burnout generated a lot of hits and has led to a few conversations the last few days. I thought I’d write a series about what I’m doing to take care of myself when it comes to working in the tech arts of a large church.

Today we’re going to talk about the biggest idea I took away from Mad Church Disease: You Are Responsible For Your Spiritual Life!

We all have reasons for neglecting our walk with God:
– It’s just a busy season (we’re opening a new venue, remodeling, it’s Christmas/ Easter/ a kickoff or push season, it’s a heavy production load for this series, etc…)
– If I don’t do it won’t happen.

You must realize that it was because of a love for Jesus that you got into media ministry. But we get so busy creating, producing and serving that we often forget who and why we’re doing this. We can justify that extra 15-60 minutes we should spend polishing that video/ graphic, mix, etc instead of spending some time in prayer and the Word. We can all spit out the right answers when we talk to church people. We can talk the talk. We can put on the right mask and make everyone think that we’re OK.

You MUST have a love for Jesus that is of first importance in our lives. If we’re not growing in our walk with God our lives will become out of balance at work and home. When this happens we will look for escapes. Most of my sin is my own attempt to fulfill a godly need in an ungodly way. Instead of turning to God I turn to diversions and sinful desires to fill that hole. To scratch that itch. I can tell you it doesn’t work.

And you MUST want to change. You can lie to accountability partners and put up a front but on the inside be dying. I know I’ve done it. You can cover your tracks and hide your sin… for a time. But eventually it will come out. Fear can grip us to keep our faults hidden. But there is freedom by bringing it into the light. As much as my wife catching me looking at porn hurt. It hurt to see the pain it caused to her when I thought I was just hurting myself. There was an immense freedom that this sin was finally in the light. The power of sin is multiplied when it’s kept in darkness. We believe the lies.

John 15:1-17 ““I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Jesus teaches that we are:
– To bear fruit.
– You can be in church, on staff, a part of the vine, busy doing things for Jesus and not bearing fruit
– We can not bear fruit on our own.
– The fruit is the evidence of a life lived in relationship with Jesus.

Lets make this very practical:
– Where are you in your walk with God?
– If you’re not growing why not? The times I’ve been apathetic in my walk. Those times where I lost my passion for God. They were times I had hidden sin in my life. You need to get honest with yourself and someone else. You need to bring your junk to the light. The internet and social media can be great but you need to talk face to face with someone. We need accountability to be honest and experience God’s grace.
– What are you going to do to help you grow closer to God and further from sin? That’s what I consider spiritual disciplines. Things I’m doing in my live to help me grow closer to God and further from sin. We’re all wired differently so find what works for you. A favorite book of mine is The Live You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg. Do what draws you closer to God and stop doing what draws you away.

We’ll continue this series in my next post about “You can’t always be “ON””.

October 19, 2009. Tags: , , . Personal Growth. 4 comments.