Most pastors are by nature altruistic. We want the best for others. And recruiting and unleashing high-capacity volunteer leaders truly is an altruistic endeavor. It benefits the volunteer leader as they get to experience the thrill of stepping into their God-given calling. It benefits the church as recipients of the giftedness of the whole body.

But there are undeniable benefits to you, the pastor, as well. And frankly, it’s time to show yourself some love by prioritizing your own soul care. There was already a problem brewing among pastors before COVID, and now we may be at full-scale crisis level. Pastors are lonely and frustrated and anxious more than ever. The stage is set for a new wave of moral failures and mental health breakdowns. Many are ready to quit the ministry altogether. So, I want to share with you, unapologetically, 3 ways that giving away ministry to volunteer leaders will help you maintain a healthy soul.

1. You can do what you’re best at.

It is exhausting spending day in and day out trying to be a square peg in a round hole. In my book, Untapped Church, I write about the importance of identifying your cornerstone calling. What are those things that only you can do? Once you identify them, you can begin the work of giving everything else away. And here’s the thing, there are people in your congregation who love to do the things you hate to do. One of the best ways to care for your mental and physical health is to entrust someone else to lead the things that you’re not very good at anyway.

2. You don’t have to carry the full weight of ministry.

I realize that there is a pressure that only Senior Pastors carry. But I must also remind you that ministry was never meant to be done alone. A lot of pastors do it alone, but that’s not the way God designed it. God’s pattern was always to do ministry in teams. The trinity itself, Father, Son and Spirit was the OG ministry team. Jesus could have rescued the world all by himself but he chose to include a team of twelve. God gave Eve to Adam saying, it’s not good for man to be alone. He gave Elijah Elisha. He gave David Jonathan, and Ruth Naomi. It is a major stress reliever to have others shouldering the load with you.

3. You have time to keep your soul tended.

More laborers means more time for what’s most important. In Acts 6 when the Grecian widows were demanding more ministry attention from the Apostles, notice they didn’t just add the food pantry ministry to their to-do list. They recruited and unleashed volunteer leaders to tend to the widows so they could continue to tend to the “ministry of the word and prayer.” Your soul is like a garden that needs tended. It needs fed and nurtured. Where there are weeds they need pulled. Where there is disease it needs treated. Volunteer leaders allow you to maintain a healthy soul so you can minister out of the overflow.