Time for another: Back from Burnout episode. Reverend Tanner Griffin is candid about the moments that led him to step away from full-time pastoral work and this is a tale of caution as well as invaluable insight for those bearing the mantle of spiritual leadership. His emergency room wake-up call, stemming from an unrelenting panic attack, underscores the critical importance of mental health and family well-being in ministry.
Throughout our heart-to-heart, our conversation sheds light on the often invisible burden carried by those in pastoral roles—unseen yet intensely felt. Tanner’s journey illustrates the perils of inheriting organizational dysfunction within a church and the immense courage required to confront it, even amidst resistance from those preferring the familiarity of the status quo. He shares how his tumultuous experience became a lesson in acknowledging one’s limits. It’s a narrative that serves as a beacon, guiding ministry leaders toward recognizing that their calling may sometimes lead them away from traditional paths to preserve their spirit.
Bringing our discussion to a close, we chat about how stepping outside the bounds of conventional church structures has the power to bring clarity. Tanner’s transition to a life of purposeful service exemplifies the transformative power of balancing personal health with spiritual duties, a message of hope for those striving to sustain their call to ministry without falling prey to burnout.
Finally, I introduce a practical tool for self-assessment, the burnout questionnaire, aimed at helping leaders detect early signs of fatigue. The link is below in the show notes. Support the show
This is a GUILT-FREE zone! So here’s your friendly nudge about self-care and its importance for the sake of your family, friends, and those you serve in ministry.
Get your FREE Burnout Questionnaire to help you assess whether you are dealing with just general tiredness or something MORE. CLICK HERE FOR THE BURNOUT QUESTIONNAIRE.
I love scouring around to find great content to share, and am always interested in feedback, if you are or know of someone willing to share their Back from Burnout story so we can all learn together, then CLICK HERE to email me.
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Blessings on your journey!
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Margie Bryce: 0:01
Hey there, Margie Bryce, here bringing you the Crabby Pastor podcast, and I don’t think you’re going to be too surprised to know that it’s too easy today to become the Crabby Pastor. Our time together will give you food for thought to help you be the ministry leader, fully surrendered to God’s purposes and living into whatever it takes to get you there and keep you there. We’re talking about sustainability in ministry. Hey there, this is Margie Bryce, host of the Crabby Pastor podcast, and I know well I can tell from the stats anyway that one area of interest is when pastors are courageous and come on here and tell their stories of burnout, of challenge and how they were moved beyond that and just all the wisdom that they learn because I was just saying in our free chat interview with this pastor that we’re about to chat with that. You know you learn more from failure than you do from success and personally I absolutely do attest that, but that is so, so true across the board. So I’m here today with Reverend Tanner Griffin and I am going to let you, Tanner, introduce yourself.Tanner : 1:30
Okay, well, thanks for having me with this conversation. Like I said, I’m Tanner Griffin. I’m ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. For the past seven years I’ve been a senior pastor at a couple of different churches rural Indiana and then most recently, you know, kind of Central Michigan more on the western side, I guess but as of two or three months ago, made the decision to step out of full-time pastoral ministry and move back home. And a big part of that and this is where it connects with where your podcast has been has been coming to the realization that I was in burnout, that it was affecting my family and, despite my best efforts over the last several years of, you know, learning better time management skills and all the different things setting boundaries I listened to a million podcasts, read a million books, you know, tried to do everything I could to keep myself healthy I didn’t end up in that burnout category and so kind of reinventing life here, but also, for the first time in a while, feeling like excited about what’s ahead and really living into that sense of calling. So it’s kind of ironic when you tell people that you’re stepping away from full-time ministry, they often ask you know, is it a faith crisis or you know, are you upset about, you know? Is it doubt or whatever? And honestly, it was an attempt to be faithful, right. I feel like God was moving us in a different direction and gave me a more clarified vision of how I should be spending my time and be steward of this call.Margie Bryce: 3:16
I like that. I like that it’s tied to call and sometimes God does move us in unexpected ways and to unexpected places and then you still can come out of that with a strong sense of there was purpose in the mess that I just walked through and that’s kind of a neat thing to behold after the fact. It may not be so great while you’re trudging through it. You’re trudging through the mess, it’s not so fun there. But yeah, I liked a lot of what you had to say then about call. So why don’t you start then at the very beginning? Because what happens is, you know you can say burnout and nobody sees burnout coming in themselves or when they’re in the midst of it. Maybe if you have a very brave administrative assistant or your family right. They say hey, this is your, this is not good, but otherwise you don’t see it coming. So why don’t you take us back to start where you’d like us to start?Tanner : 4:28
Okay, I mean to focus on kind of the, the sneaking up on burnout thing, because I agree with you, you don’t see it coming and, like I said before we start recording, I I really struggled to apply that term to myself for a while because I felt like it had different implications. But, you know, I I felt called to pastoral ministry and it was kind of a little bit later in, like, I had a family when, when we first entered into full time mystery, my wife and three kids oldest was 11, 10. And the youngest was a year old and I had a three year old in the middle there. And so you know, we we moved the family and you know, at the at this church and as is typical of a lot of medium small churches now, there’s just a lot of, you know, the. The catchy phrase is deferred maintenance and that applies to physical structures, but there’s a lot of I would call deferred maintenance in community organizational life as well. So the organizational health, it just it, just there were some things that needed attention and, as we are kind of have a tendency to do, those are the things we want to do, avoid, you know, pretend like didn’t exist. And actually, you know, I had a member of the church board upset with me at one point because he said why would you, why would you say we had this problem? And I was like because we do. You know, it was just one of those, one of those realities where, you know, naming it which seemed like an obvious step for me was the was the major triggering thing for folks.Margie Bryce: 6:01
So well, sure, sure. And then you’re, you’re what? What I think has happened and you captured this when we talked before the podcast that what has happened is other people have left things unattended and just passed it along to the next person, to the next pastor, to the next pastor, to the next pastor. So you know, I mean you’re talking or thinking about a compounding snowball, almost.Tanner : 6:28
Yeah, and I think I think I always want to avoid the sense of like the pastor that was there before me didn’t do the right thing or something. I don’t want to give that impression Right. I just think, like when we go in, especially if it’s somebody that you know felt a call to ministry early on and went to school, went to seminary, and then you walk into a church and you’re ready to preach and teach and pray and you know this is what you’ve been trained for, study scriptures and all those types of things, and then you’re suddenly met with you know budgets and buildings and you know all those types of things. I think pastors are naturally gravitate towards the pastoral things, and so the things that that I’ve wrestled the most with weren’t in that area, but it was more of the you know organizational. You know I put in my note to you that the you know I kind of got tired of running a religious organization and that’s the side of things that seems to get neglected or where there’s the greatest need, I guess.Margie Bryce: 7:29
Sure sure, because you’re talking about organizational stuff and you can come in and sometimes there’s organizational dysfunction.Tanner : 7:39
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so you know you said about trying to tackle those things, and you know there’s people that I mean, I think people have unrealistic expectations of what a senior pastor can do, especially a solo senior pastor. You know, somehow you’re supposed to do all these, you know, run the business of the church, do all the spiritual things, visit folks, get convinced people to come back to the church that have left, and then somehow, on a Sunday, show up and have a, you know, a sermon that you know compares to whoever you can see online. You know what I mean. Like that’s it. They’ve spent a whole, you know whatever month preparing for that one talk or something, anyways, and so it’s just a heavy expectation. And, as that being my first pastoral, full-time pastoral role, I wanted to be good at it, you know, and so I wanted to be successful and I worked really hard, you know, to try and meet all those expectations, which just that’s a bad strategy. And so I had to start learning about boundaries and prioritizing my own goals and being okay with some people being upset with me, you know, but I did like what you wrote here.Margie Bryce: 8:58
You wrote because I was kind of this myself with, but with any church that I was over, I felt like I had the choice of getting people to like me or doing what was right for the church and that’s a that’s a real big, big picture focus, you know, a mile high view, so to speak. You know, while I can not address this and just let it continue to perpetuate, or I can address this and it’ll be challenging, it’ll be a little bit hard but at the end of the day it’s going to position this church and put them in a better place and you know that’s a pastoral urging as well.Tanner : 9:40
Yeah, and so the first church was that the financial situation was the reality it had. The church finances had been an issue for a while but it had a daycare center that was providing revenue to keep it afloat. But then the community, the local school district, got a grant to do daycare at the school where it was costing parents almost nothing, and it just kind of gutted the daycare at that time. And so the month before we closed on our house into this area so we’d been at the church for three months maybe I saw my first full like financial snapshot, and you know the church spent thousands of dollars more than it brought in. And here I am going to buy this house with my, you know, with my family, and like I don’t think the church can afford us, and that was the battle from day one. You know there was times where, you know the church, our bank account was 15 bucks.Margie Bryce: 10:40
you know there was times where your personal one or the church?Tanner : 10:43
Oh, the church one yeah like we were in a tight place, and so I spent a lot of time digging into the budget, right, because it just wasn’t the budget process, wasn’t something that was strong in this trip, and so I spent a lot of time trying to get my head around the financials and, you know, people started posting passive, aggressively on social media. You know, it’s hard to love your people when all you want to do is look at spreadsheets and I was like I know what you’re saying, but like if the church closes, like if we run out of it’s just so. It’s that type of thing that just wears on you. Like I was determined that fixing the financial realities was step number one, like that was going to be the biggest barrier, and I took hits along the way because people didn’t think that I should be spending that much time on that. So it was just one of those things where I had to, very early on, say, am I going to do what’s best for the church or am I going to set about developing relationships with people so that they they I do what they want me to do?Margie Bryce: 11:54
You know, we, we it.Tanner : 11:58
I, looking back, I don’t think I would have known this at the time. But looking back I saw that the stress and the I would say I was bordering on burnout then. But then COVID hit and you know, initially that caused stress and anxiety spike because it’s like, what are we doing? But then we went through the season where, you know, everything existed online and things calmed down. We weren’t doing 19 things a week, we weren’t doing all this, it was just, you know, let’s get what we have to do to get a Sunday service, you know, shared out online or or whatever. And so I think I actually found rest during that COVID season and again, I wouldn’t have noticed that what isn’t said that at the time. But I think, looking back, that I was really close to burn out there and COVID kind of gave me a reprieve. But then in the middle of that, you know that we got called to another church and the church we were at got adopted by a larger church campus and you know, they were able to pay off their debt and the financial situation was a lot better. when we left and I started at this other church that finances were strong. They had a strong leadership team. It looked like a lot of structure in place, which is what was lacking at the first year. But again, that was during COVID that we made that transition. So I couldn’t see you know all the things that were behind the scenes because nothing was happening.Margie Bryce: 13:32
So Right, right, right, because you said that at some point you ended up leaving that second church sooner than what you planned.Tanner : 13:41
Yeah.Margie Bryce: 13:41
But trying to pastor an unhealthy church was doing real damage to my family. I told my wife that if we didn’t leave this would kill me, and I was not being dramatic. There are many nights I went to bed wondering if I would wake up in the morning.Tanner : 13:56
Yeah, yeah. So I mean there’s there’s a lot in that, those few statements there. You know we went to the church in Michigan and we we thought we were going to be there you know, in my head was till the kids graduate from high school. Like we’ve already moved them a couple of times. It seemed like a good community and we really want to put down roots. Like I’m familiar with the statistics that say, the longer pastors at a church, you know there’s fruit, that happens. You know they can’t happen early on. All of that we went in there. You know they ask you when you’re interviewing at a church how long you’re going to stay and I said you know, I think five years is is like the minimum for me in my mind, and not that I’m planning on using that church as a stepping stone to another place. I think that’s what they were concerned about. But but yeah, like I found myself, two of my three kids were wrestling with tremendous amount of anxiety and on medication or seeing counseling. I started seeing a counselor and was on medication. I ended up in the emergency room one night panic attack, I don’t know what it was, anxiety, whatever, but like my pulse wouldn’t come down. It was like I was running a marathon and it just stayed there and my wife finally had enough and said you’re going. So we went Like that was a huge wake up call, because I thought I just wasn’t feeling great. I just thought I wasn’t. You know myself, but if I get a little bit of rest or I solve this problem or if I get a vacation or whatever, like I’d be back to normal, but like I just wasn’t, wasn’t snapping back. And my dad passed away to a pretty young age in his in his sleep. He had a heart attack at the age of 44 while sleeping. And so that like my statement in my head, like it it sounds dramatic, saying well, I’m going to go and sleep and I don’t know if I’ll wake up. But like I thought that at night there was nights where you know I’m like, if I close my eyes, will I ever open them again? Like it was just I knew I was unhealthy physically, emotionally, mentally. I knew I wasn’t the dad that I wanted to be. I definitely wasn’t the husband I wanted to be and, honestly, I wasn’t doing a very good job pastoring either. Right Like it just everything crashed and it was just like well if I’m doing all of these things, if I’m put myself in the situation where I’m stressed and tired in my head it was like well, if I’m accomplishing something, it’s worthwhile, you know, like it’s just me doing what I have to do to get the job done. But when I started failing at everything, like I sat in front of one of our board meetings and said, guys, I, I’m operating at operating at like 35% right now, like you know, sitting down to write a sermon was incredibly difficult because I was struggling to think. I just I don’t know how to explain it, other than there was like a numbness, but with like a buzzing, like my whole, my whole self was buzzing, like there was just this overwhelmed energy that was just I don’t know and so so. But even in those moments it was just like well, I’m just, I’m just tired, or whatever. Like I didn’t want to apply that, that, that burnout, because I think I said it in the, in the pre-show, like I didn’t, or you know, before we start recording, I didn’t apply burnout to myself because, like, I’m not one of these workaholics, I’m not a control freak, I’m not a you know somebody that you know, when I think of burnout, I think it’s of people that are, you know, trying to do too much. You know, and I was trying to do less, you know, like I Love, you had said. You had said, well, if I fix this problem, yeah, then everything’s gonna be good and then something else would come up which sounds like some kind of pastoral version of whack-a-mole that you can’t get ahead of yeah, yeah, and that’s I mean I think that’s how I justified it for as long as I did was just that well, if I get this solved, or Maybe not even that, but just the reality of being a senior leader in an organization when, like, if I don’t do this and this, it’s not arrogance, it’s not pride, it’s just if I’m, if I don’t do this, it’s not gonna get done. Or if I don’t, if I don’t intervene, things are gonna get worse. You know, having to step in between two grown adults arguing at a board meeting Like I had to put myself in the middle of that or you know person conflicts in the church, or people in positions that they probably shouldn’t have been in. You know it creates problems.Margie Bryce: 18:32
It creates, you know, conflict and and her and you’re saying and you’re saying is this what I went to ministry to do?Tanner : 18:40
Well, and I mean I cared about the people of the church and one things that I’ve learned in over the years is like, before pastoring full-time I was in logistics management, like I, warehousing and transportation and that type of thing, and so my, my initial instincts to everything is organizational right, and so I thought when I went to past full-time pastoral ministry I needed to focus more like individual relational. But what I discovered Through experience and and maybe people have other conclusions, but I come to the conclusion that, like so much of the hurt and conflict in churches right now isn’t because one bad person hurt another person, it’s it’s lack of clarity and roles and responsibility. It’s a lack of understanding of, I mean, the number of times that people said well, who said they could do that or I was doing that, or they Step to my territory or they hurt my feelings because they did something I was supposed to do. That that dysfunction in organization creates hurt at a At a pace that individual, you know, just having one mean person couldn’t handle. And so that was my mentality is like if I can get the culture healthy, the organization healthy, then these hurts will go away. But as we solve problems, as we move through things I Can’t remember who’s who said it, but I was listening to a podcast that talked about church leadership, being a pastor, and that your leadership staff and and church leaders need to be problem solvers, like they should come to you with solutions to problems, and that what often happens is you end up with a bunch of church problem Deliverers. And that was. That was a culture that I found myself, and I had a large team which, on the surface, feels like I should be able to accomplish a lot, but it just meant there was more people that had Problems that they needed my input on, and so I knew you were the fixer of all things. Yeah, yeah. And I mean, and in my most cynical moments I said they just hired me to come and be an employee for them. Right, like, I’m not, I’m not a pastor, I’m just the fixer. And then it was just hard for me when I really started to struggle to find space. My kids went to the same school as some of the other staff, and so I’d run into people in the parking lot that wanted to talk about church related issues. You know I’m in my my you know shorts and and hooded sweatshirt not, you know, not even ready to start the day yet and you know, and because they knew I was gonna be there, they would come prepared to talk about something, or my kids were at the daycare which our church ran, and so I’d go to pick up my kids at the end of the day and and it spontaneous meetings happen, because they knew that at certain point I would come and pick up my kids and it just, it just Expounded like that, this the feeling that I there was no place I could go, that I was not responsible for other people’s problems, you know, I mean yeah, yeah.Margie Bryce: 21:38
Well, that’s a and that’s a heavy load. Then at what point then did you say to yourself, Okay, there’s got to be Some other way for me to live into my call or yeah.Tanner : 21:55
Yeah, I think I mean the real. Like I said, when I ended up in the ER there was that wake up call if I gotta do something. But even after that it took me a while actually it took my wife to kind of kick me in the butt a little bit to get me to see a counselor and and talk with some folks. But the question was like, what do I do? Right, like if you feel called to ministry, you pastor a church, right, like that’s, that’s what you do. And it started. I just really wrestled with the idea that I have to do all these things and go through all these barriers to share my faith with people or to pray with people or to. You know, I, when I worked in warehousing, I had more honest conversations with with people that were on and Just because it was just a faith conversation, there wasn’t, it wasn’t about church finances or what color the I mean the stereotypical carpet conversation like that was happening at one of my churches, the you know pews or chairs, or you know we put tables in the sanctuary for a sermon series and and People. It’s not spiritual to have tables and all of that nonsense. I’m like I’m just trying to Teach people about Jesus and you pray with people that that need. Yeah, so I Just found myself really struggling to even do the basic things I was supposed to be doing, and that’s one like I’m like oh, that’s it. This is burnout, this is, this is what it is. You know, my dog loved it because I was at home on the couch all the time that that was her favorite thing is when I was home on the couch. You know I Would, I could do some work. You know so much of stuff is done, you know remotely now, but it’s just the productivity wasn’t there, the drive wasn’t there. When my phone would ring, I would avoid it. You know, it was just that type of thing where I was like Not only am I struggling with the idea of being a pastor, like I’m not past right and so I’m like a Pastor should at least want to go to church on Sunday, and I didn’t like you know. I mean it was just that level of and I felt bad because it was like this congregation deserves a pastor that wants to pastor them. And I wasn’t living up to what I felt like my responsibilities were, and there’s a whole, a whole chain of things, but it was just kind of this idea of like what if we went back home? And and that wasn’t even necessarily a sense of of calling it was more along the lines of my wife’s grandma passed away and I wasn’t able to be there. You know, I’d known Darlene for, you know, 20 some years and because of my church responsibilities I wasn’t able. I was actually doing a funeral for somebody else that day and there was just that sense of like I’m taking care of other people but I’m missing out on the people that matter Most. I’m not able to be there for them. So that’s where the the draw to come back home was. I hadn’t been around. You know, my mom was, was has some health issues and it’s like my kids don’t know grandma that well. I mean, they know her because she comes in visits. But it just that was where that initial came from. And as soon as, like, my wife and I came to that decision, like yes, this is our next move, like it was, the weight came off. I still had responsibilities there, but it was like I’m no longer Holding myself responsible for the future of this. This church and and I said you know, learned, learned a lesson along the way it’s God’s church, it’s not my church. There’s problems before I got there. There’ll be problems after I’m there. I’m, it seemed kind of arrogant to think that I could fix everything, but but that it was once I started the the process of moving back home that I felt this like stirring again and there was a little bit of just this downtime where I didn’t want to do anything and I just needed rest, but that didn’t last as long as I thought it was going to how long did it last oh? couple of weeks, and I mean part of that was job transition and I transitioned to a job that I’m really enjoying, so it was Fulfilling and but it wasn’t a heavy stress load like I got eased into this position. My onboarding was super low intensity, which I totally appreciate, so I felt like I had a little bit of rest through that. But it wasn’t like said, it wasn’t wrong and the desire to write Kicked in and so I’ve been. I’ve been, I’ve got a blog and hardly anybody reads it but like I write because it’s good for me. But I’ve also been writing sermons and and not that I’m preaching them, but I’m still writing like there was just more. And I’ve Been talking with my wife about doing something like like a hybrid dinner small group type thing in our, in our hometown now and some other ministry related things, and like that, as I stepped away from the thing that was was dragging me down and got a little bit of space, like clarity of calling kicked in, like I really started to understand, you know, the things that I’ve been frustrated with or struggling with over the past few years. I feel like God is saying well, what’s not trying hit, what’s not trying tackle those things right now. Let’s, let’s focus on what you feel most passionate about and let’s maybe we don’t have to have all the details so like this. They said this, this dinner church type thing we’re thinking about. You know, probably the most fruitful ministry that I’ve had in both churches that I was at was we’d started like a young adults small group in our home on Sunday evenings and we’d have food and play, games and Talk and then just talk about the sermon from the day, and that was like the most Most effective discipleship that I that I’ve participated in or that I’ve led, but also the greatest sense of community that I’ve been a part of. And so it’s like well, can we replicate that? Like why do I have to have the building and the pews and the? You know all?Margie Bryce: 27:58
of that like.Tanner : 28:01
Right and the carpet and all that like. I want to focus on, on, on on relational ministry and I want to share faith with people that are really interested in, that, are searching for something, and so, like the, the image that came to my mind was that the two disciples Walking away from Jerusalem after Jesus is crucified and they don’t know he’s resurrected yet, and they’re walking on the road and yeah. And so they’re discouraged, they think the plan’s gone off the rails, like their faith has let them down and they don’t really know what to do next. So they’re just gonna go home and like. That’s the image Of like my mission field now. Like the church Culture has has proven is prevalent enough in society that people have religious experiences one way or the other. But, like in the town we’re in now, you know, there’s been a church split, church closing, a Church plant that tried to launch and failed. There’s a lot of like experience with faith and religion, but a lot of disappointment, like I can see people in that and so like, let’s get some people together and and share a meal. Jesus showed up to those disciples when they broke bread. So let’s break bread and and and talk about see where Jesus is in all this. And I got so excited about this. That’s, it was a, it was clarity of calling and purpose, but like I sat down and just mapped out. I’m a planner by nature and I just mapped out. Like the whole thing and it’s like said I’ve been, I’ve been writing for this sermons for this church that doesn’t exist yet. You know, I’m taking a new approach but, like it took me, I had to have permission to to think Outside of the typical structure. Right, like I said, when you feel called to ministry, you think you’re gonna pastor a church. And it took me a while to come to the point where it’s like no, we can do something different. You know, I mean the missional churches house churches, neighborhood Missional movements those types of things really helped me Grasp that sense of well, you, we can do things a little differently. It hasn’t always been, you know the way that I’ve experienced it.Margie Bryce: 30:13
Sure, and this is in part why I feel called to do what I’m doing, with nudging pastors towards self-care and a slower pace so that they can hear the daring call of the Spirit and follow, because I think the church today is in a lot of transitions. Transitions are hard and I think that you can’t hear the daring call of the Spirit if you’re running like a crazy person on the hamster wheel. You just can’t. And I think in this transitional time God is going to ask us to do some new things, and so it may not look like the traditional. I’m called and therefore that means I am a pastor but you still can be pastoral in whatever place that God plants your feet, and it may just look different and that’s kind of exciting.Tanner : 31:18
Yeah, and I think what you said right there and why I appreciate your podcast and just the growing conversation about self-care for pastors is that I was worthless to people, because I remember pastoral care and counseling classes, the first in both undergrad and in my graduate classes. Both times I took that course. They talked about the you’re on an airplane and it loses the pressure of the masks. Come down, put your own on first, because you can’t help anybody if you’ve passed out. I know that in my head, but it just felt like I never prioritizing self-care seemed selfish, and so I appreciate the conversation because you’re bringing attention to it and others bringing attention to it and providing resources and even just talking about it, making it seem like it’s a real thing. It helped crack through my sense of what I thought about self-care and it wasn’t. I thought bad things about self-care, I just thought I didn’t need it, I’m doing fine. Until I wasn’t.Margie Bryce: 32:31
Right, right. Well, that’s why and I know I’ve shared my burnout stuff before on the podcast and stuff and that’s why I feel very strongly about this, because they will tell you in class this is what you should be doing and for some reason it just goes by the wayside. Or they think I just have to pray more and read my Bible more and I’ll be fine. And I’m not saying either of those things are not helpful or good. I’m just saying we are finite people. It dawned on me one time. A friend of mine. I was like why am I like this? Why am I so upset? Why am I this? And she said it’s because you’re human. And I thought what a light bulb moment. Yeah, I’m human and I’m finite and I’m like in scripture it says I’m like the grass that’s going to wither someday and I always want to think that I’m a perennial and. I think I’m an annual, though. I mean it’s that kind of thing that we have going. I don’t know if I want to ascribe pride to it, really, because that seems a little harsh, but I just think we get so busy because in United States culture, busy is the thing. If you’re busy, you have to be busy in order to be successful. And what pastor doesn’t want to be successful in the spiritual things like making disciples? But then you get there and you realize, oh yeah, well, there’s more to this gig and your to-do list gets massive and you forget that you’re going to fuel yourself through rest. You forget all that because the to-do list is so blasted big.Tanner : 34:25
Yeah, and you brought up pride, but for me, I think initially it was insecurity when I would do things for myself or with my family. I felt like I needed to justify it because there were things that needed attention there was people that needed help, and if I’m out golfing or doing something else, I almost feel like I had to justify that because there was needs that weren’t being met while I was doing that, and so I think it became insecurity Like I had to. And it’s so silly because I know the stories. So the Hebrews in captivity in Egypt, and Moses comes, let my people go, and all that, and they go out into the wilderness and one of the first things that God tells them they have to do is keep a Sabbath. This is so critically important. This is going to be foundational to who you are and how you live. Keep a Sabbath Like this is on the same level as don’t murder, don’t have other gods. Keep a Sabbath. And somehow when I think you pointed out American culture that’s a sin. You’re never going to get called out on Working too much I started keeping a journal and a planner and I write out my Sabbath plan. Sometimes I’d keep it, sometimes I wouldn’t, but I think that’s one of the things that I noticed most that first week where I wasn’t a full-time pastor, that Sunday morning came along and I was rested and relaxed and I’m like, oh, this is Sabbath. And I’m like, how do I hang on to this? A friend of mine is like, well, you’ve discovered the weekend. I’m like, yeah, yeah, there’s this thing called the weekend. But this is what God wants for all of us, on a weekly basis, to enjoy life. It’s meant to be the biblical, the New Testament imagery of the great feast, the great banquet. We’re invited to this and it’s not our party. We’re not responsible for the catering or the. He wants us to enjoy it. I forgot how I felt like I was a worker. That was my job to Worker me. Yeah.Margie Bryce: 36:59
So if you could give one word of wisdom, say to yourself before you entered pastoral ministry, what do you think you might say?Tanner : 37:13
Look for God, because there’s a lot of things that are in the life of a church but it’s not necessarily. I don’t know. You sport spiritual lightly, but not necessarily like, well, I’ll just say spiritual, it’s not a spiritual thing. And so look for Jesus, look for that and just lean into it and let that be the priority. And yeah, I think sometimes it’s easy to get. It was easy for me to get caught up in all the things. I think the message would be just do this, be faithful to the things God wants us to do Pray, read, rest Sabbath. Just keep it simple maybe that old dad and let the spirit work out everything else. I mean I have some regrets, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do it. Many things much different, but I think that would be, that would be. The key is like trust, that being faithful is enough. And yeah, you can’t, you can’t fix everything. That’s right, it’s full and what you’re called to do.Margie Bryce: 38:30
I Like that.Tanner : 38:32
Yeah.Margie Bryce: 38:33
I like that. I like the simplicity of it because it feels like it gets more complicated at some point along the way and that’s Not quite so fun because I think a lot of pastors go into and are called into ministry and they have ideas about what they’re. I think I could count on one hand the number of intense spiritual Conversations I had with congregants and it wasn’t because I wasn’t available or whatever, it’s just they just it wasn’t happening there like that. Yeah and that you know there’s a little aspects of what we end up doing that it gets a little disappointing, especially when it draws us away from when we felt God calling us to be.Tanner : 39:16
So yeah, and I read Eugene Peterson’s kind of memoir of the pastor and as I was reading through there, there’s so many moments of just like yes, this exactly. And one of the things he talked about was his experience of of finishing seminary and going to his first church and being just utterly shocked at how little the church people cared about the things of God. He just assumed that that’s why they were part of the church, that’s why they’re gonna be there. That’s the focal point, you know, and it was. It was meetings and potlucks and, you know, social events and all. And he’s just like, well, what about the things of God? And like that, I, I could relate to that experience because he said I, I didn’t go into ministry Because I wanted attention. Like public speaking was not my favorite thing, I didn’t want to be up on the platform, I didn’t want to spotlight, I just I honestly wanted to care about people, the way that I had received love and care and compassion through the church that I grew up in, and I thought there’s a compelling story of scripture and I thought people needed to know it. And and, yeah, it was just. I think that’s my greatest frustration is is the church has gathered people for a variety of reasons, and sometimes Jesus isn’t really a part of it at all, and you and you almost feel bad saying that, seeing that, and yeah, yeah, as I said, it’s a it’s a challenging era to be a part of.Margie Bryce: 40:49
I’ve said for a while, hey, I think we’re all Jeremiah, you know, because you looked at Jeremiah and I thought, and his stats for conversions aren’t too good, are they? But yeah, it’s, it’s a challenging era, but the real big thrill is watching somebody Recapture the essence of what God called you to be and to be about. And and I really want to say I appreciate so much your, your honesty and your sincerity to come and and share on the Crabby Pastor podcast. We One less Crabby pastor, right?Tanner : 41:29
Yeah, and I’m glad to, because I mean, you can feel alone. I think that’s what’s so great about what you’re doing is sharing stories like this. You know you feel isolated, you feel like nobody else is going through this, or yeah, so I think it’s great well.
Margie Bryce: 41:48
I appreciate that and Blessings on you and your ministry, whichever way it goes, with the dinner church and the work that you do at Olivet Nazarene, and thank you so much for coming on and sharing. I appreciate that.
Tanner : 42:02
Yeah, it’s been a good conversation, thanks.
Margie Bryce: 42:06
Are you wondering whether your fatigue, your lack of motivation, your lack of interest is burnout? Maybe? I just wanted to let you know that I have a resource on the website, margiebryce. com, and it is a burnout questionnaire, free for you to download, and kind of self-assess and get a sense of where you’re at. There are questions that not only ask about what you’re going through but maybe how often you’re experiencing it and that’s that’s kind of a key to where you might be, because you have to know where you are in order to chart a course forward. And most pastors who experience pastors and ministry leaders who experience burnout rarely know that that’s where they’re at until they’re well into it. And if you’re unsure about that little statistic, so far, everybody that I’ve interviewed on this podcast who has experienced burnout, when I asked that kind of question, they’re like, yeah, I didn’t know that’s where I was at. So again, go to margiebryce.com it’s on the homepage of the website and you can get your burnout questionnaire and kind of see where you’re at.
Hey friends, the Crabby Pastor podcast is sponsored by Bryce Art Glass and you can find that on Facebook. I make stained glass. That’s part of my self-care and also by Bryce Coaching, where I coach ministry leaders and business leaders, and so the funds that I generate from coaching and from making stained glass is what is supporting this podcast and I will have opportunities for you to be a part of sponsoring me and, as always, you can do the buy me a cup of coffee thing in the in the show notes. But I will have some other ways that you can be a part of getting the word out about the importance of healthy self-care for ministry leaders. Hey, thanks for listening. It is my deep desire and passion to champion issues of sustainability in ministry and for your life, so I’m here to help. I stepped back from pastoral ministry and I feel called to help ministry leaders create and cultivate sustainability in their lives so that they can go the distance with God and whatever plans that God has for you. I would love to help, I would consider it an honor and, in all things, make sure you connect to these sustainability practices you know so that you don’t become the Crabby pastor.