Pastor, are you over functioning?
When stress and anxiety take over a group, we can be tempted to take control. Over functioning is when we try to manage the anxiety of our church by doing for others what they can and should do for themselves. During this pandemic, many pastors are doing way more than they should.
One pastor told me that he doesn’t see his family from Wednesday to Sunday except for meals. That’s unhealthy and unsustainable!
When we over function, we hurt ourselves and others. We hurt ourselves by pushing beyond our God-given limits. This puts added stress on our body and our relationships. Eventually, it will lead to burnout, moral failure, or worse. Over functioning hurts others because we micro-manage and seek to control both people and outcomes. Managing our own anxiety is good and healthy. Trying to manage the anxiety of others is being controlling. Sometimes God uses our anxiety to draw us to him. When a pastor tries to keep his congregation from being anxious, he may be taking them away from healthy relationship with God and into a co-dependent relationship with the pastor.
Pastor, it is important for your people to work through their own feelings of stress and anxiety. This is how they will grow. Work on being a non-anxious presence in their lives. Set boundaries that honor your God-given limits. Do the work that God has given you (and only you) to do. Then rest in the fact that God is in control, so you don’t have to be.
Be healthy, well rested, and walk closely with God and your church will follow your lead.