How to Overcome Spiritual Apathy in Pastors
March 31 |
It’s a struggle for many pastors. They’ve dedicated their lives to serving the Church, yet they can find themselves in a season of apathy. It’s a troubling feeling that can leave them feeling lost and frustrated—unsure of how to break free from this cycle of disinterest. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With simple steps and support, pastors can break free from spiritual apathy and reclaim a joyful, faith-filled life again.
What is Spiritual Apathy?
Our daily choices reflect our spiritual attitude. An apathetic attitude occurs when someone is so worn out that they feel complacency or indifference toward their faith. As a result, they find themselves cold and indifferent about spiritual matters instead of passionate and on fire.
Apathy can easily arise without you even knowing it. It may start with thinking you’re too busy to make time for God. Then, you start drifting away from your relationships with God and others. Your spiritual practices fade from daily rhythms to occasional occurrences. Soon, “small things” build up to bigger issues than necessary. You start feeling empty inside and coasting through the day. You consistently default to the easy or lukewarm choice. And before you know it, you’ve drifted further and further away until you’ve reached a place of spiritual apathy, and eventually spiritual burnout.
Carey Nieuwhof wrote, “We live in a world where you can have five hundred friends and still feel isolated and abandoned. Solitude is a gift from God. Isolation is not—it’s a tool of the Enemy. As a culture, the more connected we’ve become, the more isolated we’ve grown. This is our strange twenty-first-century paradox: we’re connected to more people than ever before and we’ve never felt more alone.”
The good news is you don’t have to stay in a state of spiritual apathy. There are resources, strategies, and grace to reignite your passion and spiritual strength.
8 Signs of Spiritual Apathy
Is spiritual apathy creeping in? Here are some signs to look out for:
1. Disinterest in your spiritual practices.
2. Difficulty concentrating on the work you need to do as a pastor.
3. Decreasing your attendance at (or mentally checking out of) prayer meetings and Bible studies.
4. Unmotivated to reach out to others, lead new initiatives or share the Gospel when the opportunity arises.
5. An overall sense of burnout, exhaustion, emptiness, or depression.
6. Feeling disconnected from people around you and God.
7. A lack of energy to take care of yourself through rest, healthy eating, and exercise.
8. Struggling with thoughts that God is distant or unreachable.
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Apathy is part of being human and living in a busy, demanding world. But now that we’ve found some warning signs of spiritual apathy, it’s time to learn how to find forgiveness in yourself and re-build your spiritual life.
7 Steps to Recover from Spiritual Apathy
What can you do when you’re struggling with spiritual apathy? Removing apathy requires action. Apathy is all about passive reactions. Flip apathy around by making active and intentional choices. Here are a few ways to take action and reclaim your spiritual joy.
1. Practice gratitude
Focus on the good around you, from your family to your ministry, to promises found throughout the Bible. Then thank God for them. By thanking God for his provisions, no matter how small they seem, you’ll restore perspective and reinvigorate your faith!
2. Ask for help
You shouldn’t, and don’t have to, struggle alone. Lean on close friends, family, and loved ones to help you get through your spiritual apathy. Ask them for help keeping you accountable for your goals towards spiritual growth, whether that’s reading your Bible or intentionally setting aside time to pray.
3. Connect with other pastors
Don’t be too proud or ashamed to ask for help when needed. Instead, seek out like-minded individuals who share your calling. Attend conferences or retreats geared towards spiritual growth, or join groups dedicated to encouraging one another.
4. Find fresh inspiration
Diversify the content you’re consuming. Watch a different preacher, open up a new book, grab a bible study you haven’t read in a while, or listen to a podcast. Exploring different resources can help reignite the passion lost during an apathetic season.
5. Create space
It’s important to make space for quiet reflection. Psalm 46:10 reminds us, “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s crucial to step away from the hustle and bustle of your job and focus on resting in God’s presence. These quiet moments will provide clarity, refreshment, renewal, and a restored joy in ministry.
6. Stay organized
There are hundreds of tools designed to help pastors—from calendars to keep appointments organized to software that can automate some of your tasks. One of those essential tools for ministry is a church management system. An effective ChMS can help remove a lot of the stress of running a church, while reducing your risk of burnout or exhaustion. With the right tools and support, you can remove a lot of the stress of running a church and take the time back for your own spiritual health.
7. Don’t give up
If you’re feeling spiritual apathy, don’t give up hope! Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” God never gives up on us. He will always provide a way out. With his help, you can overcome any obstacle!
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Your faith journey is an ongoing process. It’s normal to waver, but what matters most is how you overcome obstacles along the way. Then, drawing on those experiences, you can foster and deepen discipleship within your team and congregation, as many members of your community have struggled with similar challenges.
Our church management software was developed to prevent spiritual apathy and streamline processes to free up your time to connect with others. We also have resources for effective church leadership training to help you grow stewardship.
We’d love to partner with your church so you can stay focused and invigorated to serve God and your church. Contact us today for a live demo to see how ChurchStaq can change your church experience through our comprehensive suite of tools.
Looking for more resources like this one? Check out these blogs!
- Preventing Spiritual Burnout for Pastors
- Pastoral Burnout – Pete Briscoe
- Can Technology Solve Church Staff Burnout?
- 8 Signs of Ministry Burnout & How To Prevent It
- How ChurchStaq Can Help with Pastoral Burnout