It seems that in trying to correct some possible pastoral abuses of the past, seminaries are exposing their students to a recurring theme: don’t burn out . . . be sure to get your day(s) off . . . marriage first, ministry second.”

These refrains may all be quite true, but they come with such repetitive force that I fear that the pendulum has swung from those who jeopardized their families in the name of “ministry” to men who think that they have something coming to them because the are “in the ministry.” We now have men who are so thoroughly warned of sacrificing their families that they sacrifice nothing!

I say this from my own experience. After my first six months of ministry I was shocked to discover that my biggest danger was not burn out but rusting out. I was lazy! I assumed that I was putting in my forty-plus hours of the ministry, being careful to guard my “time off.” But, when I added up my hours I was short of forty. How could this be true of “hardworking Jonathan?”

Kent Hughes, Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome