5 Tips for Preventing Staff Burnout During Christmas

5 Tips for Preventing Staff Burnout During Christmas

For many church staff members, Christmas is a difficult time. It follows the back-to-school kick-off season at the end of an already busy year making it incredibly easy for staff to get drained and feel resentful during the holidays.

Here are five suggestions to keep your team healthy and happy during the Christmas season.

1. Take burnout seriously

The way we use the term “burnout” makes it difficult to understand. It’s not just being tired after a long week. It’s considerably more severe. When people work in a stressful environment for a prolonged time in an exhausted state, they stop being able to function efficiently—and it becomes harder to manage anything beyond basic survival skills.

For many church workers, the Christmas season can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. As people find it more difficult to function, they stop caring. After a while, they begin to feel bitter toward the church and fantasize about leaving.

If you want to prevent burnout on your team, the first step is taking it seriously because your staff can’t flourish if they’re expected to tough it out even when they feel stretched thin.

2. Get started on Christmas earlier

Christmas isn’t merely a single church service: It’s an entire season. And it requires preparation for multiple worship services, children’s pageants, banquets, outreach initiatives, and a lot more. If you wait until mid-November (or even October) to get started, it creates a lot of pressure.

The earlier in the year you can get started, the better. This enables you to create a plan for every element of the holiday season and reduce the strain on staff to get things done last minute.

3. Rally the volunteers!

Your staff members shouldn’t be responsible for running every aspect of your ministry’s Christmas calendar. The church is healthiest when there are plenty of helpers picking up the slack. Ideally, the staff should be leading an army of volunteers.

Once your ministry leaders and staff plan out the Christmas season, they should make arrangements for delegating as much as they possibly can. Then you can start reaching out to your church members for help. If you’ve been keeping potential volunteers motivated, you should have no problem getting them to help out and lighten your staff’s workload.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate

The pastoral team should consider staff health to be their chief focus. As everyone busies themselves with Christmas preparations, check in with people one-on-one. Take staff members out to lunch or coffee and talk about how they’re doing. Are there obstacles or frustrations they need help with? Concerns that need to be addressed?

It’s helpful to do a little prodding and pay attention to their attitudes. Do they seem excited about Christmas? Are they positive about other staff members and how things are coming together? Are you aware of ways they could use some help?

5. Celebrate and acknowledge your staff

It’s helpful to think of appreciation and thankfulness as a vitamin supplement. They won’t prevent burnout, but they can do a lot to help your staff fight it off. When the church and pastoral team communicate just how grateful they are for the people on staff, the work becomes more of a joy and not a burden.

The pastoral team can send out letters of encouragement and gift cards to local establishments as a way of saying thank you, but it’s even more meaningful to convince people in the church to do so, too. Reach out to church members and challenge them to find creative ways to inspire and encourage staff members during this busy season.

Season of wonder or weariness?

The Christmas season is a time to remember the miracle of the incarnation. It should be a time of reflection and anticipation—for everyone. Let’s ensure that we remember those who work alongside us who might feel overextended this season. They need to experience the wonder of Christmas, too!

Keep staff informed about what’s happening this Christmas season so they can balance their workload well. For the ultimate Christmas planning checklist as well as information on excellent event planning and execution, download the free ebook, How To Prepare For Your Best Christmas Yet, today.

Jayson D. Bradley

Jayson D. Bradley is a writer and pastor in Bellingham, WA. He’s a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine, and his blog JaysonDBradley.com has been voted one of the 25 Christian blogs you should be reading.