Articles Family Pastor Stories

A Pastor’s Son Tells of His Father’s Burnout.

We Did Not Know to Call It Burnout

When I arrived at my father’s office, I saw him sitting in the chair behind his desk crying. My mother was at his side. Several deacons and other leaders of the congregation were also in the room.

It turns out my father was preaching, had a panic attack, stopped, offered a traditional invitation, sang one verse of a hymn, pronounced the benediction, and then turned around and went to his office to cry.

He had experienced a burnout incident right in front of the congregation. He had been unable to prevent it. The closest thing to burnout we knew to call what happened is that he had a nervous breakdown.

The following Tuesday my father left home for seven weeks. He had to get away from the pressure he was feeling in this stressful ministry setting. . .

Sean Nemecek is the West Michigan Regional Director for Pastor-in-Residence Ministries ( He also writes a blog called The Pastor’s Soul ( and is a co-host for the Hope Renewed podcast. Before joining PIR, Sean served as a pastor in a local church for almost 18 years. As a third-generation pastor, he loves to serve pastors in the areas of personal soul care, leadership, and consulting and workshops for churches or leadership teams. Copy and paste this link to subscribe to Sean's PIR ministry newsletter.

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