Your congregation is back in the building, Bible studies are in full swing…the church is busy. So why are you feeling, well, just “meh”? If you are feeling ministry fatigue you are not alone. 

What is the source of your fatigue?

Pastoring is a tough job and there are many possible reasons that you are feeling fatigued. Perhaps you have been pressing too hard or skipped taking a summer vacation and simply need to recharge. Maybe there is more to it and it’s time to speak with a therapist or a coach. I urge you to spend time determining the source of your fatigue and address it in a healthy and appropriate way.

Is your fatigue related to your vision?

A common reason I have seen as I work with pastors is feeling like the year of ministry, while good and even fruitful, has missed the marked when it comes to moving mission and vision forward. If you look back over the previous months and the current happenings and find that you are no closer to seeing your vision realized than they were at the beginning of the year… that’s a kick in the gut.

Ministries, like people, get distracted and fall into ruts. Trying to dig oneself out often results in a deeper hole. Trying to spur your fellow rut-mates to climb out somehow morphs into keeping them content. Programming for programming’s sake is a waste of energy. 

There is no greater refreshment for pastoral fatigue of this kind than re-engaging with calling, mission, and vision–and then spending time strategizing forward movement. If this is you, don’t wait for the New Year. Start planning for 2024 now. 

5 Steps to ensure your plans move your vision forward

1. Clarify Vision

Vision energizes you. You love spending time dreaming, envisioning, and fine-tuning. Although some of that can be done alone, having the right people in the room can dramatically improve the process. Get together with some other positive, visionary people who aren’t afraid of trying new things. What you don’t need at this stage is people telling you “It can’t be done.” Start by focusing on the positive and imagining all God may have for you and for this ministry.  

Food for thought

  1. How does ministry look different than it does now?
  2. In what ways are people changed?
  3. What results are you most excited about?

2. Run an Alignment Test

Now it’s time for a bit of assessment. Look at each program or ministry and determine how—or if–it is moving the mission forward. How is it contributing to the vision? If it’s not, you may need to cut or significantly change that program—even if it’s popular. Your organization can’t be all things to all people: it must be on-mission. 

Food for thought

  1. How does each ministry, program, and event contribute to the clarified vision?
  2. Which ministries, programs, events are the most effective at moving the mission forward?
  3. Which ministries, programs, events are the least effective at moving the mission forward?
  4. What changes need to be made?
  5. When are you going to make those changes?

3. Schedule Changes

Some changes will almost certainly need to be made; now is the time of being intentional about them. Decide exactly what needs to be done and when. It’s important to strategically set a date in advance and manage all parts of the project–and its communication–so everything is in place. Rolling out change in a Ready, Fire, Aim fashion will fail every time. 

Food for thought

  1. What needs to be in place in order to implement the change?
  2. Who do you need to gain buy-in with?
  3. What obstacles might you encounter? How can you prepare for them?

4. Prepare for Transition

Even when a change is good, people need support going through a transition. Every person in your congregation will feel a sense of loss with even the smallest change. Ready yourself with patience and grace. It will take time to return to the new normal, and people will need relational shepherding along the way. Remember that different people will experience the change differently, so consider as many perspectives as possible.

Food for thought

  1. What will people lose when this change occurs?
  2. How will you honor and mourn their loss?
  3. What support will they need to transition to the new normal?
  4. How can they contribute during the transition and prepare for the new normal?

5. Empower Changemakers

Those who are supportive of the change can be your allies. Be sure you are supporting them and releasing them to the best of your ability. It can be tempting to hold back, thinking you yourself must directly lead all changes. That’s not true. Never underestimate the power of changemakers. They can bring about important tidal shifts in public opinion as they champion new ways of doing things. 

Food for thought

  1. Who do you need on your team?
  2. What will you delegate to them?
  3. How will you invest in their personal development?
  4. What steps will you take to create an environment where it’s safe to take risks?


Have you been struggling to make the vision and mission match what actually happens at church and in the lives of your people? Coaching can help. An excellent coach is a sounding board, a resource, a strategist, and  your accountability to making the vision God placed in your heart a reality. Bob Logan currently has a couple of opening for new coaching clients. To learn more, contact admin@loganleadership and ask for a complimentary introduction to Bob and learn how coaching can help you.

Change Management Effectiveness Profile– If you want change to stick this time, examine how well you manage change. Everyone has room to grow. This competency-based questionnaire has been designed to help people understand more about their skills or abilities in critical areas of change management. It will provide a picture of your overall ability and help determine where to target development activities in order to improve essential skills.

Change Management Skills Builder- This skill builder can be used as a personal or an organizational process. It can also be used to help people walk through major life changes at work or at home.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Note: This blog was adapted from a post I wrote for Christian Coaching Tools.