Did you ever hear the phrase “sharing is caring”? We often think of sharing items or sharing information, sharing resources or sharing our talents. How often do we think of sharing the burden? This may be tough to hear, but sharing your burden may truly be caring.

While this concept seems upside-down, it is a regular part of the Kingdom. In the Old Testament, we see examples of this with Moses and Aaron leading the people in the wilderness, Moses and Jethro having delegated the tasks of judging the people, and Nehemiah rebuilding the walls where many hands made light work and many gave support to the efforts. These showed communal support and shared responsibility. 

In the New Testament, we see Jesus pairing up and sending out the disciples two by two, the women supporting the ministry of Jesus, and later Paul with the early church establishing leadership that entailed multiple elders and not a singular person as the leader. “Bear one another’s burdens” was a key phrase of his as he wrote letters to churches.

Ministry was intended to be an interdependent endeavor where leaders could rely on one another and serve within the context of community.

Ministry leaders today bear all for all and lack a place to unwind and be refreshed. Counseling sessions, difficult family matters, lengthy council meetings, big decisions, small decisions, tensions in the church, cultural connection, political divides, disheartening effects of COVID, financial futures, and that’s just the church side of things! 

A pastor wears many hats, sometimes simultaneously, with the expectation that hats will be exchanged swiftly and effortlessly:

Administrator, accountant, theologian, biblical scholar, evangelist, equipper, and the list is truly endless.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this, there is good news! Sharing is caring. Pastors can connect with each other and offload the mental load they carry — emotional baggage too. Congregation members can ease the burden by practicing Matthew 18 when conflict arises and handling business so that it doesn’t get escalated to the pastor’s desk in an anonymous note.

Churches can help shift the perspective of the pastor’s role from the point person of the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side”. This releases the bottleneck of to-dos from the pastor to the people and also empowers the people to accomplish the ministry God has called them to.

Finally, to my leaders in the church, especially the spouses: allow the church to serve and share your burden. As a pastor’s spouse, I didn’t realize how I would take away the opportunity for a brother or sister in Christ to serve when I would turn away help or kindly excuse offers made by those in our congregation. God surely humbled me with three debilitating pregnancies. I had a whole team of wonderful women from the church come and watch my babies as home health nurses came in to visit. I started saying yes because I had to, and then God revealed to me that He wanted me to!! The joy of these women and men serving in unexpected ways was something I allowed my pride to hinder. I more easily accept offers and help instead of graciously dismissing their offer as an empty gesture.

What God allowed me to see was an outpouring of His love and grace through His people. I prayed to sense Him near, and He sent Midwest tater tot casseroles and chocolate chip cookies, playmates for my babies, hand-knitted blankets for our children, snack bags for our 1,000 mile-drives, and helpers in the services to sit with me as my spouse preached.

Maybe God has sent someone in your life to walk alongside you and bear your burden with you. They might not be able to take it all, but they can lessen all you have to take. Maybe God is calling you as a brother or sister in Christ to look up and see who may be struggling in their walk with Christ. In what ways can you come alongside them and offload their burden, if for a moment?

As stated before, the pastor is not Jesus and does not have to sacrifice life on the altar for the sake of the church. Leaders need to be healthy and part of that health is recognizing when they need to share the burden. We have many ways to do that with Pastors4Pastors, self-care inventories, and staff health retreats available through Preparing For Amazement Ministries. We are happy to help ease the burden!

Rachel Haseley, Communications Coordinator


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