Guess what? This happens to adults too! Especially leaders!
In the ten years I've been serving the local church as a pastor I've seen many leaders express that they are bored. Let's be honest for a moment, I've said this myself on many occasions - in fact, I'm in a bit of a season right now where I'm feeling bored.
If you're a leader, here's what I know about you. There is something about the status quo that never sits right with you. There's something that just shouts out in your bones that if your church or organization isn't growing and moving forward then it's running the risk of dying. And you get frustrated with the people around you because they LOVE the status quo and are totally content leaving things well enough alone.
I get it! I struggle with that feeling almost daily.
I've come to learn that, as leaders, we need very healthy ways of dealing with boredom when it sets in. I've come up with four things that help me when the feeling of "I'm bored!" creeps in. I have two things to "Don't Do" and two things "To Do".
1. Don't Check Job Sites!
I've met many, many leaders, especially young pastors, who believe that boredom means God is calling them out of their current church or ministry. Now, I'm not saying that is not the case... sometimes that does happen... but, in my experience, that is very rare. I've not seen God use boredom to completely uproot your family and ministry.
Jobs sites, in my opinion, are basically temptations you don't need when you are feeling bored. It's way too easy to fall into the belief that running off to a new church will take care of that feeling of boredom. A new move and new ministry will eventually just become the new normal... and feelings of boredom will creep in there as well. So I avoid at all cost the job sites.
Just recently a friend of mine who is a part of an awesome church posted on Facebook that they are search for new leaders to join there team. I was thrilled for his ministry, and the growth they are experiencing... I prayed for him and his church. And then I hide the post from my Facebook feed! I believe when I feel bored God wants to teach me something new... and I avoid any false temptation... I want to hear from God himself... not Facebook or a job site.
2. Don't Blame People!
As you leader, you probably care way more about spiritual growth then most people in your church. You care way more about reaching people for Christ then most people in your church. You probably read more, study more, and implement spiritual disciplines more... because that's what leaders do!
In the moments of boredom in ministry it's far too easy to start pointing blame at other people. I've heard many times from pastors "If only my church would...", "The people in my church won't...", or "My leadership team doesn't...". That's the blame game. We blame other people for the feeling of boredom we are experiencing. And when we begin to blame we can easily start to becoming critical of those people... which drives us further into breaking rule #1 and check out job site.
It's so important to take those thoughts captive. Pray. Discern. Question. But don't blame.
1. Talk to Someone
I'm incredibly grateful that I have amazing people in my life that I can be open and honest with. Far too many leaders I know keep these types of feelings to themselves. I don't know if it's fear of being judged, criticized, or rejected, but too many pastors keep these feelings to themselves, hoping to process them alone.
I believe it' the secret conversations that we have in our minds and hearts that can do us the most harm. Not that feeling bored is a sin or a problem... but we may be way too close to the situation to be able to honestly discern why we are feeling this way.
I'm first and foremost very honest with my wife, Danielle. We talk about these feelings that I deal with in pastoral ministry. After all, we're ONE FLESH so whatever affects me is going to affect her. I have great mentors in my network of pastors/leaders that I can talk with and pray with. They care about me, my family and my church. I trust their feedback and their guidance. I'm also a part of a great LifeGroup who I can share with and talk with. I so value their friendship and prayers.
With far too many pastors leaving the ministry after only a few years, I'm convinced the only reason I've managed to stay a pastor for over 10 years is because of the people God had brought into my life that I can talk to.
2. Seek God
I know, this sounds like an obvious Christian answer... but it's crucial! When a leader feels bored it's easy to begin to focus on all the negative parts of our ministry. The complaints, the sins, the repetitiveness of another Sunday sermon to prep, the hurts... Because you're a leader this stuff stands out like a giant, red flashing beacon!
When we still ourselves before God by taking time throughout the day to be silent and still, God shows up. Again and again when I take time to seek God he shows me exactly why I'm bored. Maybe there's someone I need to develop or care for. Maybe there's a ministry that needs more direction. Maybe there's opportunities in my denomination or in my community that God wants to guide me to be more active in.
When we seek God we allow him to speak to our hearts. He is the one who helps me come out of the feeling of boredom. Because God's work is anything BUT boring!
This may sound weird, but I've come to welcome times of feeling bored. They are times when God has stretched me as a leader and as a follower of Jesus. They are great times of new learning and insight.
I'd love to hear how you have dealt with this feeling.