No matter how far along you get in worship leading or in life, it’s always good to stop and ask yourself why you are doing what you do. Your “why” will always take you farther than your “how” or your “what”. Burnout happens when the effort and cost involved in doing something is greater than your passion for why you’re doing it.
I’ve burned out before. It happens. Let’s just be honest up front on that. When I look back and see when I’ve burned out, it’s usually been during a season of my life when I’ve had too much going on. So much so that I neglected the things God gave me to help me live this life. There is grace for us in our callings if we’ll just stay focused. My problem has been too many irons in the fire, and I end up burning out. There’s a saying I’ve heard: When you burn the candle at both ends, you’re not as bright as you think you are.
In the church (ministry, volunteering, etc…) we are no more immune to burnout than people in the business world. That’s why it’s imperative for us to be on fire for our “why”. Galatians 6:9 has something to say about this. However, there are some advantages to the Christian life that help us keep our hearts in check and keep from burning out.
Regular Times of Prayer
If you look at the life of Jesus, you’ll see that he had regular daily times of prayer. His constant communion with the Father was his greatest source of strength. Jesus got his direction from God, and he knew exactly what he was supposed to do. Also, when Jesus prayed, things happened.
- Jesus prayed & heaven opened (Luke 3:21)
- Jesus spent time alone in prayer (Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16)
- Jesus prayed when facing suffering (Matthew 26:36, Matthew 26:39)
- Jesus prayed persistently (Matthew 26:42 & Matthew 26:44)
- Jesus prayed for those closest to him (Luke 22:32)
- Jesus still intercedes for us now (Hebrews 7:25)
Time Reading the Bible
Accountability Through Other Believers
When you start to get burned out, you stop showing up. You may literally not be there (church, rehearsal, etc…), or you may physically be there, but your mind is somewhere else. I’ve been there before, and I wish I would have had more people around me to hold me accountable. God puts other believers in our lives so we can help each other out. Christianity is more than a book of rules and a building with a cross on it. It’s a community of imperfect people heading in the same direction — toward God. When we stumble, it affects those around us, but we can also help pick each other up to continue on.
Accountability on your worship team is one of the greatest assets you have as a believer AND as a worship team member. The Bible says (reference) that iron sharpens iron, meaning that believers are supposed to hold each other accountable. When one is weak, the other can be strong. This is when it’s important to do the two things mentioned above (pray & spend time in the word). It’s also important to have the right people on the worship team.
The principles discussed in this article are for more than just the acoustic guitar players in the band. A band is only so strong as its weakest link, and you don’t want that to be you! As you continue on your journey to be the best worship acoustic guitar player you can be, don’t neglect these areas of your life. Spend time in prayer, get into the word as much as possible, and surround yourself with others who will keep you accountable.
Worship music is SO much more than music. We are on the front lines of spiritual warfare, so you will have troubles. But when you face these things, “consider it pure joy” (James 1:2-8), because that’s how you know you’re on the right track. You are blessed that you get to serve God with your guitar in your hands, so take your spiritual life seriously, too.
Do you have a story of how you burned out in worship or serving in another area of your church? If so, what did you do to combat the burnout? What was the end result?