City Survival Skills


  • Live Simply
  • Say no to bulky furniture
  • Fall in love with space optimization, make it your new hobby
  • Don't stay in your appartement at night, go where the people are
  • Eat what the natives eat, sleep like they sleep, play like they play
  • Know your stress busters, USE your stress busters
  • Set smart limits
  • Your home needs to be a refuge from the storm
  • Spend time with your target group
  • Give generous amounts of time to priorities
  • Say NO
  • Love
  • Family time is sacred
  • Get out of the city from time to time
  • Shop like your neighbors, every neighborhood functions differently
  • Stay faithful to your personal sense of justice, do community service
  • Practice "l'art de vivre," make living well an art
  • Read large quantities of scriptures
  • Church exists first in your dream
  • Cast a vision of what it will be even while it is still developing
  • Plan more ministry than you can handle
    • Half of the events will be canceled anyway
    • Those events that do happen will be attended only 1/2 of the time by 1/2 of the people
  • Cooperation, ministry exchange and prayer with others
  • Legitimacy is built through networking
  • Work toward reaching critical mass
  • Live spiritual family wherever you're at, with whomever you have
  • Live on the same block as your core group and team, or at least close enough to drop by and borrow a cup of flour
  • The most effective church building strategy is to personally live a good life - 1 Peter 2-3
  • Transience is a reality. Have a plan. Deal with it.
  • You may save money living further away, but you will pay the price with your time and emotions if you have a long commute. Travel time is just as emotionally draining as work. Plan to do less.
  • The purpose of intellectual debate in society is to attack, promote cynicism, cut down, and pulverize the opponent. Don't waste time. Preach Jesus.
  • The Space-Time Continuum - Public space is everyone's private space. Everything is available at all hours, nobody has any time to get together.

Death by Burnout

Burnout is emotional exhaustion, 'compassion fatigue' (Hart). Sympathetic people are most vulnerable. Researchers like Maslach, Freudenberger and others from 1977 onwards gave the name 'burn-out' to the special stressors associated with social and interpersonal pressures.
  • Stress now contributes to 90% of all diseases.
  • Half of all visits to doctors are stress-related.
  • Doctors, lawyers and clergy have the most problems with drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide.
BURNOUT VS. STRESS - by Dr. Arch Hart

Burnout is a defense characterized by disengagement.
     Stress is characterized by overengagement.
In Burnout the emotions become blunted.
     In Stress the emotions become over-reactive.
In Burnout the emotional damage is primary.
     In Stress the physical damage is primary.
The exhaustion of Burnout affects motivation and drive.
     The exhaustion of Stress affects physical energy.
Burnout produces demoralization.
     Stress produces disintegration.
Burnout can best be understood as a loss of ideals and hope.
     Stress can best be understood as a loss of fuel and energy.
The depression of Burnout is caused by the grief engendered by the loss of ideals and hope.
     The depression of Stress is produced by the body's need to protect itself and conserve energy.
Burnout produces a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
     Stress produces a sense of urgency and hyperactivity.
Burnout produces paranoia, depersonalization and detachment.
     Stress produces panic, phobic, and anxiety-type disorders.
Burnout may never kill you but your long life may not seem worth living.
     Stress may kill you prematurely, and you won't have enough time to finish what you started.


It is not possible to live without stress. Stressors can be positive, like weddings, but they still mess with your emotions. Most of us are not subject to physical danger very often, but whenever you are 'driven' by a very tight program, or threatened by a demand or expectation you don't think you can meet, your body reacts in the same way. Dr. David McClelland, professor of psychology at Harvard, says stress addiction is similar to the state of physiological arousal some people derive from a dependency on alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. A recent book Management and the Brain (Soujanen and Bessinger) suggests that some professionals are actually hooked on stress ; they get a high out of controlling people and making complex decisions.
  • Bio-ecological factors related to poor diet (too much caffeine, refined white sugar, processed flour, salt etc.) and poor exercise habits. They also include noise and air pollution.
  • Vocational factors include career uncertainty; role ambiguity (a lack of clearly defined functions); role conflict (between work expectations and personal or family needs); role overload (too many real or imagined expectations); lack of opportunities to just be yourself, for a change; loneliness (lack of spiritual direction); time management frustrations - and many more.
  • Psychological factors relate principally to the great life-change stressors - from the most stressful (such as the loss of a spouse), through divorce, death of a close family member, personal injury or illness, all the way to getting ready for Christmas or being handed a speeding fine!
  • Spiritual causes of stress may include temptations of all kinds (sexual, despair, jealousy of the success of others, anxiety over financial problems, anger and any other way the devil can get at us). According to one study, even prayer can be stressful !

Dr. Arch Hart says burnout symptoms may include:
  • Demoralization - belief you are not longer effective 
  • Depersonalization - treating yourself and others in an impersonal way
  • Detachment - withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Distancing - avoidance of social and interpersonal contacts
  • Defeatism - a feeling of being beaten
Christina Maslach, who described burnout as 'a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion marked by physical depletion and chronic fatigue, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and by development of a negative self-concept and negative attitudes towards work, life and other people', offers the following signs:
  • Decreased energy - it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up the pace
  • Feeling of failure in vocation;
  • Reduced sense of reward in return for pouring so much of self into the job or project; 
  • A sense of helplessness and inability to see a way out of problems; and
  • Cynicism and negativism about self, others, work and the world generally.
The following are indicators someone is heading toward burnout, if not already there. Sadly, we too often become so focused on our tasks and responsibilities that we fail to see these warning signs until it is too late.
  • Emotional - Unusual mood swings that may include weeping without just cause, anger, or depression. General irritability. Exhaustion
  • Moments of panic and feeling totally overwhelmed
  • Fantasizing about dying or running away to get away from the pressure
  • Insomnia - Including difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep, which can lead to a reliance on sleeping pills
  • Self-medication - Caffeine addiction. Too frequent use of alcohol or tobacco. Comforting yourself with unhealthy foods packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates
  • Recklessness
  • Health-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, heart trouble, chronic sickness, and stomach problems including ulcers. Weight change, including gain or loss. High blood pressure.
  • Fatalism - A victim mentality that sees the world as against you and everyone as an enemy to varying degrees. Paranoia and suspicion.
  • Heavy Burden - Children, friends, and loved ones begin to feel like yet another burden
Jerdon found three out of four parish ministers (sample: 11,500) reported severe stress causing:
  • Anguish
  • Worry
  • Bewilderment
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Alienation

The following are simply some things I do in my own life that I have found helpful to prevent me from dying a death by burnout.Counselors studying this phenomenon are becoming unanimous in their suggestions.

1. Fresh Spiritual Disciplines. Learn the art of relaxation, meditation and contemplative prayer. Then, as the New Testament suggests, don't be surprised when trials come your way. As psychotherapist M. Scott Peck points out in his brilliant book The Road Less Traveled, when you expect life to be difficult, it is much less difficult.

2. Take Regular Time Off. You can't expect to work harder than your Creator who models and instructs that we take rest each night, rest each week, and rest each year. Develop a way of leaving work at the office. On your days off, do something very different from what you do the other days. Do not neglect your weekly date night if you are in a serious relationship or married. Take your full four weeks' annual leave in one stretch. Listen to Spurgeon: 'Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body... If we do not rest, we shall break down. Even the earth must lie fallow and have her Sabbaths, and so must we'. Jesus said, 'Come apart and rest awhile'. (If you don't rest awhile, you'll soon come apart!).

3. Get Proper Exercise and Sleep. Exercise fairly vigorously 3-4 times a week. Walk, swim, play tennis; perspire and regularly breathe deeply. Allow adequate time for sleep. Dr. Hart again: 'Adrenal arousal reduces our need for sleep - but this is a trap; we ultimately pay the penalty. Most adults probably need 8-9 hours' a night!'

4. Relax. The relaxation response is the opposite of the fight/flight response. Taking time each day to intentionally not be controlled by pressing tasks can counteract the harmful effects of stress. Two ways to relax: tighten each set of muscles from your feet to your face, counting to five before relaxing them; or begin meditation by repeating a one-word or one-phrase prayer ('Maranatha', 'Lord have mercy'), repeat it slowly over and over and enjoy the 'other side of silence'.

5. Deepen Relationships. Pick up the phone. Go out for coffee. Stay connected. Join a small support/prayer group.

6. Renewing of the Mind. Take a personal audit. Reassess your goals; change them sometimes, as you do your clothes. Improve your self-attitudes. Learn a healthy assertiveness (e.g. by using the middle two letters of the alphabet - NO - sometimes, without apology). Know your gifts, and your limits. Face your fears; don't avoid them by pretence, or bury them in an addiction. Above all, avoid states of helplessness: take time to develop coping strategies for difficult situations. Learn not to make catastrophes out of ordinary events (increasing paranoia - 'they're out to get me' - is a sign of burnout). Be a growing person: if God has yet more light and truth to break forth from his Word, what new understandings have you experienced recently? Freudenberger suggests: 'Discard outmoded notions. Don't wear points of view just because you used to! Like old-fashioned clothes, they may become ill-fitting and ridiculous as time goes on'.

7. Have fun! To belong to the kingdom you have to be like little children. They aren't bothered about piles of correspondence or running the world. They get absorbed in things, even forgetting to run their own lives! So develop a few 'interesting interests': buy a bird-book and identify 100 native birds; collect stamps; play indoor cricket; take your spouse to an ethnic restaurant; give each of your kids an hour a week, where you do together what they suggest; build something ; audit a course. But do something! And laugh sometimes! Did you know your body will not let you laugh and develop an ulcer at the same time? Remember, with humourist Kin Hubbard: 'Do not take life too seriously; you will never get out of it alive!'

Stress Busters

When we slow down and really pay attention to what triggers our stress, we get a better idea of how to handle stress reaction. Healthy ways to unwind help you confront your emotions without giving in to them. You'll need a safe environment to name the emotions, process objectively, and come out the other side with resilience.

Avoid coping mechanisms that are harmful :
Stress Eating - 1.) Denies your true emotions : ie. you are not hungry; you crave love / satisfaction.  2.) The over-full feeling leaves you worse than when you started.  3.) It causes weight-gain that causes guilt that causes more stress.

Computer Games - Escape from reality allows you to deny your emotions, even to the extreme of denying that the stressor exists at all. Time passes without healing, wounds deepen.

Video, Film, Television - Another escape from reality into the imaginary world of someone else's stress. This is dangerous because we are easily fooled to believe that we can copy coping mechanisms seen on screen and expecting them to work like hollywood magic.

Alcohol - Drowning your worries not only suppresses your true emotions and avoids confronting the stressor, but causes damage to your brain at a time when you need it to process and heal.

Mindfully Choose Your Music - The Carpenters will leave you in a deeper depression than when you began. If you are usually a heavy metal fan you might want to give it a rest when you're feeling stressed. Be pro-active, don't let your music choose your mood for you. Personally, I like Christmas music. If you don't like any soothing melodies then choose silence.

Avoid caffeine and other stimulants.

Choose healthy stress busters that suite you best :
Exercise - Personal training may lend itself better to introspective thinking while competitive sport can sometimes mask anger.
Nap - Don't underestimate sleep as a way to get a more objective perspective.
Memorize Promises of God - Encouraging Bible verses fortify the soul from the inside out.
Call a Friend - Sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and let the other person rattle away endlessly about their life and the personal connection in itself can be a great pick-me-up. Sometimes you need to take your jumbled up emotions and organise them in a way that makes sense to someone else. When you explain why you got angry, you will learn something about yourself.
Garden - Think about gardening in a symbolic way. Care for the plants as you care for your soul. Imagine pulling your negative thoughts out like weeds.
Journal - Write a little bit each day without editing, do not censor your emotions. Share how you felt about the issue in the past, how you feel today, and also what you wish to do or say about the issue in the future.
Positive Reflection - "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:4-9
Build a Jigsaw Puzzle
Volunteer - By giving of ourselves to help someone who's needs are greater than our own we see our problems in perspective and feel that life is more meaningful. "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4
Socialize - Make appointments with friends, family and people who are good for you. Get moving.
Pet Benefits - Daily rituals include walking your dog, ping-pong with your cat, cuddle, stroke, talk, enjoy each other's company. If you don't have a pet, borrow one ; visit the dog walking park, cat sit for a friend or take a side job dog walking for the neighbors.
Meditation - Read the Psalms.
Go Fishing
Laughter - "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22
Cook - Choose a recipe, and enjoy savoring every moment of the preparation, cooking, and eating. Invite friends over to share your masterpiece.
Album - Assemble a photo album.
Stroll - Take time out to smell the roses. Stroll mindfully paying attention to your environment and your reactions.
Pop Bubble Wrap
Seek Silence - Turn off the phone, TV, computer. Soak in the silence. Calm your spirit, focus your mind on the calm.
Art Therapy - Knit, Crochet, Cross-Stitch, Paint, Photograph, Craft, Scrapbook.
Skip Stones - Each rock can represent a feeling.  Imagine casting away the feelings that disturb you.
Collage - Take several magazines, cut out images that are soothing and uplifting. Paste together a collage as a constant reminder of positive thinking.
Spa Therapy - Visit the steam room, sauna, jacuzzi, or have a manicure.
Observe - Find a healthy role model and shadow them. Ask how they unwind, take notes, observe their body language. Practice role-playing you responding like they would.
Bucket List - What do I really want from my life? Write a list of meaningful things you would like to accomplish, perhaps things you would like remembered about you after you're gone.

Live in the Moment - Play I Spy with all of your senses, every event and emotion. Identify them, and evaluate them as appropriate or not.

Let Go - Reprogram your responses to stressors. Be calm, visualize your worst-case-scenario, imagine yourself reacting well. Rather than replaying past failures, it would be more productive to role play future events and envision yourself reacting calmly and successfully.

Acceptance - Admit you feel bad and allow yourself to live with that emotion for a few moments. Why is it bad to feel that emotion? What are you running from?

The Art of Reframing - Write down any negative words that you use to describe the situation. (failure, stupid, worst ever, and so forth) Choose new words. For example, change "failure" to "stumble" ; "impossible" to "challenge" ; "never" to "someday."

Sleep a Dynamic Activity


  • Sleep is as essential to your well-being as food or water.
  • Did you know that a chemical called adenosine builds up in our blood while we are awake and causes drowsiness. This chemical gradually breaks down while we sleep. More sleep, less chemicals in the blood, less drowsiness.
  • During sleep your brain accomplishes five distinct activities in the same order every night. Stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM. If your sleep is interrupted at any point, your brain will start over at the beginning. 
  • While rats normally live for two to three years, those deprived of REM sleep survive only about 5 weeks on average, and rats deprived of all sleep stages live only about 3 weeks.
  • Sleep deprivation affects the immune system in detrimental ways.
  • Your brain neuron connections are repaired every night.
  • Everything you have learned throughout the waking hours is relearned and memories are recoded and learning is improved.
  • Mood swings are less common after a good sleep.
  • Your cells increase in production during sleep resulting in healthier skin and repairing damage from stress and ultraviolet rays, resulting in healthier younger-looking skin!
  • Activity in parts of the brain that control emotions, decision-making processes, and social interactions is drastically reduced during deep sleep, suggesting that this type of sleep may help people maintain optimal emotional and social functioning while they are awake.

Experts say that if you feel drowsy during the day, even during boring activities, you haven't had enough sleep. If you routinely fall asleep within 5 minutes of lying down, you probably have severe sleep deprivation, possibly even a sleep disorder. Caffeine and other stimulants cannot overcome the effects of severe sleep deprivation.

Symptoms much like jet lag are common in people who work nights or who perform shift work. Because these people's work schedules are at odds with powerful sleep-regulating cues like sunlight, they often become uncontrollably drowsy during work, and they may suffer insomnia or other problems when they try to sleep. Shift workers have an increased risk of heart problems, digestive disturbances, and emotional and mental problems, all of which may be related to their sleeping problems. The number and severity of workplace accidents also tend to increase during the night shift. Medical interns working on the night shift are twice as likely as others to misinterpret hospital test records, which could endanger their patients.

The National Sleep Foundation says that if you have trouble keeping your eyes focused, if you can't stop yawning, or if you can't remember the last few minutes of your conversation then you are sleep deprived and too drowsy to drive safely. When you have the flu you feel sleepy because your cells are overworking to fight off infection, if your cells are already tired when threatened by a virus they will be less successful at fighting it off. Sleep deprivation is a leading cause in many serious health problems : stroke, asthma, seizures, Alzheimer's disease, cancer. Once sleeping problems develop, they can add to a person's impairment and cause confusion, frustration, or depression. Patients who are unable to sleep also notice pain more and may increase their requests for pain medication.

The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a "sleep debt," which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don't seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need; while we may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired. The following suggestions, as simple as they may be, represent proven medical advice to be followed as seriously as a doctor's prescription.

  • Either inadequate sleep or irregular sleep habits must be avoided. Most people do best if they do to bed and get up at fairly consistent times.
  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep. Insist that sleeping is the only acceptable activity during those 8 hours, do not give in, be strong. Your body will learn what you teach it.
  • Take Scheduled Naps. Naps should be restricted to an hour or less. Longer naps make many people feel worse. Do not take naps after 6pm.
  • Avoid Sweets. (candy, cake, pie, cookies, etc.), regular pop, and other foods high in sugar--including honey. It has been shown that sugar increases entry of tryptophan (a sedating amino acid found in proteins) into the brain. Thus, it does seem logical to suspect that sweets would prove sedating, rather than giving one energy--at least for any length of time!
  • Avoid Peanuts. (are high in tryptophan) and peanut butter (most brands also contain sugar).
  • Avoid Other foods high in tryptophan (such as turkey, dairy products). It may be best to take them before bedtime.
  • Avoid Apples and apple-containing foods. have been reported by a number of patients to increase their sleepiness: for uncertain reasons, since apples are not high in tryptophan. It may be worth trying to take them only before bedtime.
  • Obesity. Obesity should be avoided and/or corrected by appropriate changes in eating habits.
  • Avoid Sedating Drugs and Alcohol. They reduce REM and reparative stages of sleep and increase sleepiness the next day!
  • Emotional State. Depression and stress cause sleepiness, sleepiness causes depression and stress, which in turn cause more sleepiness, and so on ...
  • Avoid Exercise after 3:00 pm. 
  • Avoid Caffeine after 3:00 pm.
  • Avoid large evening meals.

Death by Ministry

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle wrote the following on his blog in addressing pastoral burn out.



The following statistics were presented by Pastor Darrin Patrick from research he has gathered from such organizations as Barna and Focus on the Family.

  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
Pastors' Wives
  • Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
  • Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • The majority of pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

The following are indicators that ministry leaders are heading toward burnout, if not already there. Sadly, we too often become so focused on our tasks and responsibilities that we fail to see these warning signs until it is too late.
  • Unusual mood swings that may include weeping without just cause, anger, or depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Paranoia and suspicion
  • Weight change, including gain or loss
  • Moments of panic and feeling totally overwhelmed
  • Fantasizing about dying or running away to get away from the pressure
  • Fight-or-flight cycles where you rise up to intimidate and conquer others or run away from difficulties just to avoid them
  • Insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep, which can lead to a reliance on sleeping pills
  • Too frequent use of alcohol or tobacco
  • High blood pressure
  • Comforting yourself with unhealthy foods packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates
  • General irritability
  • Reckless driving
  • Change in sexual desire of either noticeable increase or decrease
  • Notable ongoing sexual temptation
  • Health-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, heart trouble, chronic sickness, and stomach problems including ulcers
  • A victim mentality that sees the world as against you and everyone as an enemy to varying degrees
  • Shopping sprees and unnecessary financial spending
  • Reliance on caffeine to self-medicate
  • Children, friends, and loved ones begin to feel like yet another burden

The following are simply some things I do in my own life that I have found helpful to prevent me from dying a death by ministry.

1. Fill your plate — In a conversation with Pastor Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii, he gave some very sagely advice. He said that each person’s plate is a different size; each person needs to first find the size of their plate and then fill it only with those things that are of highest priority. And, before adding any additional things to our full plate, we must take something else off to leave space for the new duty. Finding the size of one’s plate takes time and attention. For example, I have personally seen that high-level leaders have an energy level that is unusually high and those working under them who seek to keep up with their pace find themselves quickly burning out.

2. Exercise — Sadly, most pastors and Christian leaders I know are woefully out of shape. Many of them pound their pulpits against rock music and alcohol while their huge gut jiggles in mockery of their own gluttony. In the early years of our church plant, I ate poorly, slept infrequently, and lived off of the constant adrenaline of perpetual stress. As a result, I weighed 235 pounds at my highest point. Through regular diet and exercise I dropped back down to a lean 190 pounds. But in the past year I have seen my weight climb back up to 210 pounds as my diet and exercise routine has been trashed by laziness, travel, and the constant state of emergency. So, yesterday I cleaned out my garage and plugged my treadmill back in so I can resume daily running and lifting conveniently at home. I got started exercising this morning. I find that when I work out, I drop weight, feel better, sleep better, and am better able to lead out of health with energy. The experts say the best time to exercise is in the morning and those who work out early in the day are most likely to remain on an exercise regimen.

3. Do not allow technology to be your Lord — A recent issue of Fortune magazine had an insightful article about the average day of some of the most successful CEOs in the country. These people lived lives ruled by technology, including spending whole days each week doing nothing but obsessively responding to every single email they received. The article mentioned that the average American worker is interrupted once every eleven minutes and takes twenty-five minutes to refocus on their original task. The problem is that the alarms and bells of our technology deceive us into reacting to them even when the matter they call us to is neither urgent or important. So, turning off the chime and vibrate on your phone, only checking your voicemail and email on certain days at certain times, and turning the notification off on your email will itself go a long way toward your healing. You won’t have the unpredictable fire drill caused by the bells of technology. Imagine what the world must have been like before the 1200s when the first mechanical clock was invented, or before minute and second hands were added in the 1600s, or before 1879 when Edison produced the first light bulb, thereby enabling us to stay up all night.

4. Sabbath — This includes taking five minutes off every hour to catch your breath, go for a walk, stand up at your desk, etc. It includes taking thirty to sixty minutes off a day to nap, go for a walk, read, garden, or whatever else releases your pressure and helps you to relax. This also means taking one day off a week to Sabbath, including a date night if you are in a serious relationship or married. This also includes a day or two off a month for silence and solitude and a few weeks a year for an actual vacation that does not leave you more tired than before it began. Take your full four weeks' annual leave in one stretch (and make alternative arrangements for weddings, etc.). Encourage your denomination to include two weeks' extra, all-expenses-paid study leave each year. On your day/s off, do something very different from what you do the other days. (Wednesday or Thursday is best for preachers - away from the adrenalin-arousing Sundays). Listen to Spurgeon: 'Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body... If we do not rest, we shall break down. Even the earth must lie fallow and have her Sabbaths, and so must we'. Jesus said, 'Come apart and rest awhile'. (If you don't rest awhile, you'll soon come apart!)

5. Pick a release valve — Because ministry causes pressure, any leader without an acceptable release valve will either burn out from stress or blow up from sin. So, the key to releasing pressure is to find and use an acceptable release valve. This may include exercise, gardening, a hobby, journaling, or my favorite, dropping the top on my Jeep and heading into the mountains for a day of adventure to find new lakes to swim in.

6. Work on your life, not just in it — Rather than just pulling more hours and trying harder, time needs to be regularly taken to pull back and look at your life so that you can work on it rather than just run in it. For me this includes printing out my schedule every few months to review how I spent my time and inform my assistant of what was a waste of time that should not happen again. This also means taking time to read books on the issue of time management and burnout and biographies of great leaders to learn from their lives, and possibly even taking time to meet with a Biblical counselor to get insight on your own life and tendencies.

7. Leave margin — When we push our bodies, schedules, minds, and budgets to the point where there is no margin, all that it takes to destroy us is one unforeseen expense, one small emergency, or one small cold. Therefore, leaving margin is the key to not being crushed when life does not go according to plan. This means leaving extra money in the bank, leaving extra time between appointments, and preparing to arrive at places early so that if there is traffic you will still be on time and not stressed.

8. Spend most of your time training leaders — While thousands of people came to see Jesus, only a handful really knew Him, and only three knew Him intimately. This is because Jesus spent his time training leaders to do ministry and without doing the same we will die from our work and sadly see it die with us as well.

9. Work from conviction, not guilt — Conviction comes from God and guilt comes from people. The key to being both fruitful and healthy is to do what God wants and not always say yes to or let yourself be pushed around by people who are demanding and have perfected the art of making you feel guilty if you do not do what they demand.

* Originally prepared for an elders' meeting at Mars Hill Church on May 22, 2006.