Although a certain amount of stress is common, perhaps inevitable, and
some stress is positive, too much stress over a time can result in burnout.
Dr Hans Selye defines stress as a our body’s response to any demand made
upon it. He divides stress into two types: distress as excessive levels of continued,
damaging stress, and eustress as a good, positive kind of stress one
feels at times of happiness, fulfillment, or satisfaction. One of the tragic
thing about burnout is that the people who tend to be the most dedicated,
devoted, committed, responsible, highly motivated, and energetic suffer from
burnout. Burnout involves unfulfilled expectations, being worn down and
tired out because what one thought would happen hasn’t come.
Clergy are under stress for many reasons. First of all, Korean pastors work
too hard and too long. They prepare and preach more than ten sermons a week,
visit numerous church members, attend various committee meetings and do the
administrative works. With so much at stake in their job, it is little wonder that
jobs with the greatest stress are those where the workers has the least control
over how things operate even though he or she is responsible. Lack of control
is another reason why many pastors experience burnout in their ministry. Especially
the associate pastors have more stress than senior pastors because they have less
control while still having the responsibility. They are like middle management,
in that they are squeezed by their congregations and by their church hierarchy
as they attempt to follow the Spirit. In order to avoid burnout in ministry, clergy
need to solve the priority dilemma by placing their family before the ministry.
A plan to reestablish priorities would include setting clear boundaries around his life, building open communication lines with people around him, and
learning balance between work and rest.