Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Phil Carnes, DMin

Second Advisor

Larry Day, PhD

Third Advisor

David Merwin, BA


Pastoral burnout, in the past century, has become an issue that captures the attention of researchers and ministry professionals alike. Experts claim that burnout is avoidable when ministers submit to an obedient, faithful pursuit of life with God rather than working at a frenzied pace to impress people and gain the approval of God. Defined as the status of an individual that has become fatigued with his or her vocation or major life activity, burnout is preceded by a long-term avoidance of the signs of weakness and an intense focus on simply working harder. Some scholars believe the primary problem is the lack of self-care, however, in what form and to what standard would self-care be measured?3 To understand the impacts of self-care in preventing burnout, self-care must be defined and contrasted with different environments deficient of such care. This study will share findings across denominational and cultural lines and the impact of different approaches to healthy ministry and what appears to prevent the effects of burnout. Additionally, this author, by examining the missing components in spiritual and personal life, compared real-life stories of ministry failures and successes by juxtaposing them with healthy, long-term ministry professionals who avoided burnout and ministry failure.This project identified the problem of burnout facing Evangelical ministers today and examined several case studies that confirm the overwhelming statistical evidence of an epidemic that has grown in recent decades, despite the abundance of research, focused studies, and preventative measures put in place. The idea is not to say denominations and churches have not taken the problem of ministry burnout seriously, but that perhaps the focus has been heavy on the treatment of symptoms rather than the causes. The solution, if discoverable, will address the root of the problem while providing some healing to the symptoms during the long process of holistic personal and spiritual health of the minister. While this author does not claim to hold the secret to perfect ministry health or the solution to higher-than-average attrition rates in caring occupations, the personal experience of burnout and emotional fatigue after a decade in ministry will lend some expertise to the potential solution. Particular attention to avoiding the temptation of quick fixes and the entertainment of suppressive devices that only exacerbate the problem will be a priority.

Included in

Christianity Commons