Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-23-2023


There has been much research poured into the subject of burnout over the last fifty years and how its effects take a toll on an employee’s emotional, physical, and mental health. Burnout is especially prevalent in helping professions like human services, nursing, social work, psychology, and criminal justice to name a few. Vocational ministry, also a helping profession, has received its fair share of attention pertaining to burnout. Countless hours and hard work concerning stress management, clergy outpatient therapy, emotional contagions, self-care practices, spiritual-care practices, and a slew of others have been studied. Yet, where does a minister or elder in the church go to get a firm grasp on what burnout is? How does a preacher, children’s minister or worship minister know how to detect whether they are burned out, depressed or both? How does an elder know how to help a minister on staff with the symptoms they suffer from?

This doctor of ministry project was created in an effort to force acknowledgement, raise awareness, and foster advocacy for ministers from church elderships. The qualitative research method of narrative inquiry was used in this project to interview eleven ministers brave enough to share how burnout has impacted their personal and professional lives. By applying the commonalities and differences from their answers several threads emerged that were used to construct a new narrative with a collective voice. It is the hope of this project that a better partnership can be formed amongst the parties above to create a robust environment of understanding, communication, and support.