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Burnout in Ministry – Interview with Pete Wilson

MAINA MWUARA sat down with PETE WILSON for a conversation about burnout in ministry, the importance of leading from healthy places, and a look into what his life is like after CROSS POINT.

YOU CAN’T LEAD ON EMPTY.

Years of ministry at a very fast pace and going through personal trials at the same time left Pete at a place where he was depleted. He realized he wasn’t in a shape to lead a community of people, and he finally chose to step out of ministry after decades of working within the local church.

“I had a lot of fear that day, but if I could go back to that day, I would make the exact same decision. I wasn’t in a place where I could lead a church.”

I don’t know all the circumstances around Pete’s transition out of Cross Point, but I do know that it takes an incredible amount of self-awareness to recognize that you’re not in a place to lead. On top of that, I’d say it takes incredible courage to then decide to remove yourself from that position without anything else in place. I know that the Church can be a strong champion for the youth workers who follow a courageous calling into youth ministry, but I wonder if we’re just as supportive of those youth workers if/when they follow a calling to leave youth ministry.

THE INVISIBLE WALL THAT SEPARATES HOLY VOCATIONS FROM THE NOT SO HOLY.

“Often in the church, there’s this invisible wall we’ve created of the sacred and the not sacred, the holy and the not so holy. So pastors on this sacred and holy side and all the other jobs, like being an accountant or hair-stylist or whatever, are not sacred or not as holy. As if somehow God would be happier with you if you were a pastor over being an accountant. I think that invisible wall has done a tremendous amount of damage to the church. It has convinced people that somehow their life or vocation is less than that of a pastor or minister and that’s simply not true. God is not going to be happier with you for being a pastor over a hairstylist, so my thing has been, whatever God has called you to do, do that. And do it in such a way that people see it and it’s obvious that you love God and love people. So that’s what I’m trying to do now.”

This is profound. Following God’s leading can be extremely difficult at times, and I wonder how much more difficult this invisible wall has made it for people who sense God leading them into vocations outside of the church.

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