Are you facing burnout?

Are you facing burnout?

Music, being an art form, is one of the most controversial areas churches struggle in. As a church musician, you are often expected to figure out the delicate balancing act of blending musical styles to please all generations of congregants and leadership.

You’re busy serving people. The last thing you want to do is look for a job. But you sense a storm is brewing.

So how do you know?

To answer the question – how do you know when you're facing burnout, I’ve outlined a few areas which should trigger some response. When two or more of these occur at the same time, completing an action plan to make a job change should be one of your options.

My disclaimer:

These are only guidelines to help you assess your current situation. Spiritual battles are raging. God is always testing your heart. Make sure you don’t act alone, without wise advice from people you trust. Don’t do anything based solely on emotion.

Lack of Unity

Does your church love to sing?

Does praise come easily to your congregation?

Or are some of your folks so set on a certain style of music that you see a lot of detached stares during corporate worship?

Do you sense the people who want to engage feel hampered by those who don’t like the songs?

If you answered ‘yes’ to these last two questions, you may be experiencing a lack of unity in your congregation’s worship expression. Beware – this is tough and cannot be overcome by skillful music or programming alone!

Lack of feedback

You know the feeling. You’ve made some changes to accommodate those who really don’t get the whole contemporary worship deal.

Maybe you’ve been practicing hymns like crazy so you can express excellence in all the music, not just your favorites.

You look forward to evaluation, sure there’s room for improvement, but the idea of partnership is appealing. But, instead - nothing, no feedback, just indifference. There is no partnership. Sort of makes you feel unappreciated, doesn’t it? You wonder why you spent extra time if no one appreciates it. You may be facing burnout.

The music becomes “the topic”

Regardless of agenda, it seems like every meeting you attend, the music always becomes the main topic.

People visit your church, but don’t stay because of the music. People arrive late to church and miss something important because of the music. The church isn’t growing because of the music.

Everything wrong with anything is because of the music. As the lead church musician you begin to find excuses to avoid coming to meetings because you feel responsible.

Burnout or something else?

Only the participants benefit

This is closely related to having a lack of unity. In this setting the worship team is fulfilled and discovers many positive benefits from spending time together, practicing, worshiping the Lord, praying together, and encouraging one another. Corporate worship is wonderful if you ask this group! They give 100 percent and God meets them. They connect consistently with the transcendent aspects of worship.

But what does the congregation experience? Well, that’s another story…

Lack of Support can lead to burnout

Here’s the last key area. The way I view this one is: in a small church, say, less than 100 people, you will probably always feel a general lack of support. If that’s you, take this with a grain of salt. Don’t let this area be your only criteria for leaving. Remember God may be testing you.

  • Team members leave – Life has seasons, but losing key team members is just plain tough.

  • Recruiting difficult or non-existent – You ask someone for help and they need to sort their socks… at least it feels that way after you keep asking for help and there seems to be none.

  • Volunteers burnout – because there are no substitutes.

    That’s a quick list of important areas to keep your eyes on. Remember to keep communicating with your leadership. I know it’s inconvenient, but you just got to hang on and do what’s right.


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