Pastoral Burnout and the Impact of Personal Spiritual Renewal, Rest-taking, and Support System Practices

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Pastors risk burnout because of inordinate ministerial demands, which may drain their emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and physical energy reserves and impair their overall effectiveness. Burnout advances across three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced accomplishment. The debilitating effects of pastoral burnout were examined through a survey of 270 pastors. Relationships between burnout and three potentially preventative or mitigating factors, spiritual renewal, rest-taking, and support system practices, were explored. The results identified spiritual dryness as the primary predictor of emotional exhaustion, the stress dimension of burnout. In the published literature, no other work to date has empirically substantiated a link between pastors' spirituality and burnout. These findings expand the burnout construct and promote leader self-care practices that foster resilience, vitality, and well-being.

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