5 Ways To Combat Salvation Army Burnout…

With all of the news of mega church pastors leaving, taking sabbaticals and burning out, I thought it fitting to discuss helpful ways that The Salvationist can combat burnout as well.  Burnout is real, it is not something imagined or evidence of a weaker person simply giving up.  We all face exhaustion from time to time, and we also face critical, stressful situations that leave us looking for the exit sign…trust me, I’ve been there on numerous occasions.

But as an Officer and Salvationist, we have a mission to serve, but what if along the way we face difficulties, discouragements, and suffer depression and loss of passion?  What then?  I can assure you this is nothing new, and many have been to this point…many have also walked away because of it.  fire

I will also boldly say that The Salvation Army must recognize some of the lasting structural inconsistencies.  The quasi military approach that once thrived is not as appealing as it once was to a very individualistic thriving culture.  Sometimes old models of leadership need to be challenged in order for real change to take place and so that we can once again get back to mission instead of policy.  So, right off the bat, understand the Titanic turning of a large, global organization (movement) is daunting and sometimes frustrating to face.

Harvard Business Review had an article that identified six virtues of a dream company, which was compiled by hundreds of business executives.  For our purposes, imagine this “dream company” to be The Salvation Army…see if these virtues match:

1.  You can be yourself
2.  You’re told what’s really going on.
3.  Your strengths are magnified.
4.  The company stands for something meaningful.
5.  Your daily work is rewarding.
6. Stupid rules don’t exist.
(Source: HBR Article Link)

Apart from the organizational issues, what can individual salvationists do to combat burnout while serving within its ranks (soldier, officer, employee ect.)?  Here are just five ways to combat burnout in our Army.  Take them for what they are, a primer that allows us to face real life issues happening all around us.  This is just a “starter list”…there is much more that can be said within this topic.

5 Ways To Prevent Salvation Army Burnout: 

flame1. Have an Identity apart from the Army
Sometimes this goes against conformity doesn’t it?  We are told to dress alike, be of one army, one mind, yet we are also people who need to know who we are as God’s children who are called by Him.  We must find out who we are apart from the uniform, apart from the mission.  Sometimes this requires us to take a step back and reevaluate who we are and why we do the things we do.  Self identity is vital to combating burnout because without knowing who we are we can become washed away by the powerful tides of stress that are rampant in any organization.  When you go home, when you spend recreational time away – be yourself!

2. Find Hobbies To Enjoy smoke
Not everything is about mission sometimes (gasp!), in order to combat burnout is a fast paced thriving movement such as the Army, we must be able to relax from time to time.  Some are excellent wood workers and carpenters and they relax by doing what they love.  If you paint – then paint.  If you enjoy geocaching, then get out and do that!  Find things to enjoy, to look forward to on your next unscheduled day.  Plan for these hobbies.  Be intentional in taking the time to enjoy them.  This will enable you to disconnect from the everyday stress of “work”.

3. Leave Your Work At The Office!! work
Seriously, we have a lot of work-a-holics in our Army.  That’s not all bad.  Hard work is wonderful!  But when it jeopardizes your families, when they don’t know who you are anymore because you constantly work, there is something wrong with that!  I would even go out on a limb and tell you overworking yourself is a sin.  STOP IT!  When you can, leave the work at the office.  This will not always happen, I know that, but when you can leave it! Combating burnout requires us to take drastic steps, and for some of us, leaving unfinished work at the office is very, very drastic!

4. Switch Things Up!  change
We all get stuck in ruts sometimes.  So change up your schedule.  Go for a walk, spend more time talking to people instead of staring at your computer screen.  Flip your schedule so that some of your work gets done at the end of the day.  Do something different so that the ruts are broken, and in so doing, you might experience a little bit of perspective within your day.  When you do this, take time to breathe.  I own an apple watch and I laughed at first at the new update on it.  It’s a new app called “Breathe”…what it does is remind me to take a full minute and focus on my breathing.  It was dumb at first, but then I started doing it, I switched up my schedule in the process…but now I look forward to that moment where I just breathe and relax.  Combating burnout in your life takes an effort to switch some things up.  So don’t just talk about it…do it!!

5.  Take Your Sabbath Seriously!
restThis, I consider to be one of the biggest sins in our Army.
Far too few of us really take a Sabbath.  Yes, it’s our day off, but we’re still “catching up” on work.  If God rested on the seventh day, don’t you think we should too?  Or are we essentially saying, “I’m better than God” in our actions?  When you plan your Sabbath days – TAKE THEM!  Don’t bring work or ministry into your Sabbath!  This is the time that you need personally to recharge your “batteries”.  You need to plug yourself back into the Power source which is God Himself!  Whatever that reconnection looks like to you, don’t take it for granted!  Get alone with God, find the time, stop sinning in overwork and do it!  If we really want to combat burnout, we must begin to realize just how important that Sabbath is for us.  It’s not just another day off, it is a day (or a matter of hours) to recharge and rest.

I know that there are other ways that will help combat burnout, what are some tools that you have used in your ministry?  What has helped you?  Why not share them here and help all of us as we ponder this together!  As always, thanks for reading!  Something more for our Army to ponder today!

God Bless you!

Facing The Wall – A Pondering On Problems

If you think of a problem as being like a medieval walled city, then a lot of people will attack it head on, like a battering ram.  They will storm the gates and try to smash through the defenses with sheer intellectual power and brilliance.  I just camp outside the city.  I wait.  And I think.  Until one day – maybe after I’ve turned to a completely different problem – the drawbridge comes down and the defenders say, “We surrender.” The answer to the problem comes all at once.”  -Arthur McKinsey

We all face the wall from time to time.
No, not like a child being placed in “time-out”, but like the insurmountable walls of our problems and stresses.  The kind of wall that seem to effortlessly and ominously climb into the sky and cause us to panic at the sheer magnitude of our problems.
Photo Nov 10, 12 07 14 PM
You know the old saying, “making a mountain out of a mole hill” – this is the mountain becoming a super mountain.  This is the small speed bump in the road of life becoming a sink-hole.  Sometimes we can do nothing but watch the city burn as we attempt to blow on the flames.  I don’t wish to paint a dark gloomy picture today for you, but I would be lying if I said walls of this magnitude never come our way.   They do.  These types of problems will come knocking on our doors.  They will just show up sometimes.  Other times they have been cresting on the horizon for a while…perhaps we just ignored the warning signs.

wall2Are you facing the wall today?
Does it seem  insurmountable?
Do you feel heavy with burdens and heart sick with these problems you are attempting to carry?

I won’t sugar coat it for you today.
There isn’t some magical pray for you to recite and *poof* all of your problems will fade away, but I would like to offer you some perspective on your walls.

The Truth: 
wallsWe all face walls.
We all endure heartache, stress, hardships…and sometimes more hardships.  Life isn’t easy…this we know all too well.
BUT – We aren’t alone.
We should all know that each of us carries difficulties, we carry stress, we face walls together.

Jesus says this still to us today –
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” -Matthew 6:25-27

handAnother Truth: 
God will show up for us!
He will be there when we call.
Sometimes He provides a means to overcome these walls.
Sometimes He provides us the endurance to wait it out.
All of the time – WE AREN’T ALONE!

Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.” -Psalm 55:22

Waiting is the hardest part…but, we can either hem and haw about it or find the resolve to be patient.  Many times I have opted to hem and haw – (gripe and complain) about my situation instead of waiting patiently.  Did it help?  No.  Was it the best use of my time?  Absolutely not.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” -Psalm 27:14

I don’t know what wall you’re facing today.
It might be a small fence, or it could be a fortified city.
Either way, you will survive this!
You matter to God!
This life we live has it trials and troubles…but I believe in the One who overcame the world…do you?

Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Bits and Peaces

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…” John 14:27

We all find ourselves in places of anxiety and stress from time to time.
There are moments when such stress can lead to health issues and at the very least panic attacks.
Stress like this is never helpful or healthy, it can debilitate us and leave us feeling beaten and broken.
There are moments in my life when I have felt as if I am barely staying afloat as the waters seem to crest over me…it isn’t a pleasant feeling…it is often a very frightening and unsettling moment.

stormsPerhaps you too have experienced these ebbs and flows of stress and anxiety.
Like wading at high-tide the waves crash into you go back out only to collect more strength in order to do it all again…If left unchecked they can eat away at you, hollowing you out until you are just a shell of what you once were.  When moments like these come sometimes we buy into a lie.  What is this lie you ask?  It is the lie that we accept as truth…the lie that tells us that we never truly trusted God…the lie that sometimes even extends to include “God has never actually been here for you anyway…where is He now?”

Just like that ebb and flow of the ocean of stress, these lies can seep into our hearts until we accept them as truth.  BUT the truth is amidst the cascading surge of anxiety there is STILL hope!  There is STILL love.  There is STILL protection and grace…there is STILL RESCUE AND PEACE.  Jesus, the very same Lord of our lives who promised to provide His peace to His followers (which includes me and you) is with us, His life sustaining presence can give us peace and He can calm the storms in our lives no matter how fierce they may be.

storm1Do you remember the disciples thrashing about in a boat in fear as a mighty storm threatened to capsize them?  Do you remember where Jesus was at that moment?  (Read Mark 4:38)  He was asleep in the stern of the boat.  ASLEEP!  His disciples were extremely afraid and their Rabbi and teacher was asleep.  They call out to Him, they wake Him with their concerns…so what did Jesus do?  He got up and commanded the storm to be still.  Sure, the disciples were scolded for having little faith, but consider the might of Jesus -with. His. Words. He. Calms. The. Storm.  – WHAT???  Yes, with mere words spoken by Jesus, the storm completely stops.

Do you have any storms in your life that need to be stopped?
Are the storm clouds brewing around you?
Is your stress level through the roof and you can’t seem to find that peace that was promised?
Are you picking up the bits and pieces?  Do not be afraid, He is with you!  Even if you doubt, He can come through for you.  Don’t buy into the lie that you are beyond saving or that He isn’t listening…He can will calm the storms…just cry out to Him!

**I should also point out that if you suffer from depression, stress, anxiety and a slew of other constant struggles that it isn’t a sign of weakness to seek out counseling and help.  God has placed some very gifted counselors around us to help us.  Don’t ignore the warning signs.  Don’t feel as if you can “manage” it on your own, seek help and find this peace too!**

God can help you pick up the bits and pieces replacing it with peace.
Trust Him!
Something more to ponder today…To God be the glory!

Safe Harbor – The Spiritual Discipline of Solitude



“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” -William G.T. Shed

I admit I’ve been addicted to the show “Deadliest Catch” for a few years now. 

Image It’s crazy, wild and it truly is a rugged dangerous living.  

Don’t get ship-wrecked!

I was watching one episode where one of the skippers had to bring their fishing vessel into port because of a mechanical issue.  The seas were raging and the weather was not desirable, but they had to get to harbor for safety and repairs.  Of course the tv show paints it with great drama and suspense, but in this instance they were extremely worried about getting to the docks and getting out of the storm.  



Are you in need of getting out of the storm in your life today?  

Has the storm been brewing around you for a while now, swirling and ebbing, crashing against your vessel and threatening to capsize you?  Do you feel threatened and exposed, fearful of being washed away?  

Image we all need safe harbor!  I think the Apostle Paul felt this way many times in the midst of his persecution and imprisonment. He even knew a little bit about being literally shipwrecked (this happened to him not one or two times, but THREE times!).  He even wrote about it;  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 

Safe harbor is vital for all of us to have.  Do you have a safe harbor?  Safe harbor needs to be a place where you can go and find rest.  A place that will shelter you from the storms.  A place where you know the storms of life can’t harm you.  Jesus said; 
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Safe Harbor is available – 




But we have got to be willing to act on it…to actually go to the safe harbor.  We have to be willing to admit that these storms are more than we can handle.  Admit that we need help and our strength just isn’t enough to get us through what we’re going through.  






 He waits for us to come to Him.  He doesn’t just want us to come to Him when we’re in danger…but that’s a start.  Sometimes we come to Him only after we’ve hit rock bottom.  Sometimes we come to Him only after all of our other resources dry up.  Yet He is always faithful!  He is always available.  

May I offer you a little ticket to the safe harbor?  Image

It’s just a gentle word of advice and help.  It’s a small thing that I’ve learned  I’m still learning…

Solitude with God: 






It might sound kind of funny, but being silent before the Creator of the Universe really and truly helps!  There is no better place to go than to God for guidance and for a re-connection with Him.


We live in a world where we are surrounded by sounds and noise every day.  There are distractions in our homes and in our workplaces…so how do we find these moments of solitude with God?  Is it even possible?  

Yes it is!  But the real question then becomes are we truly willing to seek out these moments with God?  Are we prepared to sit in silence before Him?  Truly finding solitude in God’s safe harbor requires us to devote or set aside purposeful time with Him.  Without our dedication to the practice of solitude we will find ourselves hopelessly bored and defeated by it.  You have to prepare your mind and your life so that you can actually sit in silence before  Him.  

Anything worth doing takes work.  An Olympian can’t simply show up to an Olympic event without first having spent countless months, days even years practicing and training.  So it is with the spiritual discipline of solitude.  It’s called a discipline for a reason.  

  1. 1.
    the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.
    “a lack of proper parental and school discipline”
    Discipline takes real work and practice.  Sitting in silence before God will take work!  Tuning out distractions and sounds/noises of our every day life will take work!  But it’s worth it!  Image
    Do you need safe harbor today?  
    Whether you’re burnt out, washed up, overly tired, stressed out, overwhelmed…whatever the case today, perhaps it’s time you became plugged back into the true source of power in this world!  Perhaps it’s time to realign your priorities which need to include these vital moments of solitude before a God who wants to encourage, strengthen, support and love you.  
    Are you ready?  
    -Just a thought for you today.
    (These thoughts and images were put together specifically for http://www.pastorsponderings.org but are free for anyone to use in the express hope that God’s word may be heard and seen.  May all the glory be given to God!)  


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