Three Tips for Overcoming Leadership Fatigue

The worship leader role has taken on a very different meaning these past few months. Orchestrating song selection and volunteer coordination has taken a backseat to moving services online and crisis communications. Leading worship, at any time, requires tremendous emotional, spiritual, and sometimes even physical exertion.  

It’s easy to wear yourself out quickly in the process, right?  

But no matter how long you’ve been leading worship, taking the time to become refreshed and restored is critical to finding new inspiration for your passion and love of leading. 

Here are three quick tips for overcoming worship leading fatigue, that just happen to apply equally to restoring fresh creativity in your songwriting. 

#1 – Take five. Many of us are under the impression that we need to set aside hours of prayer and days of fasting to become refreshed, but it’s surprising what even five minutes of quietness can do. It’s tempting to think that working faster, harder, or even “smarter” is the answer, however, just recentering yourself for a few minutes is sometimes all you need to reconnect with the joy of why you do what you do. 

You can use this time to pray. Or not. It’s perfectly okay not to ask God for anything. Just sit comfortably and breathe deeply, maybe thinking of His goodness, faithfulness, and love for you. Rehearse a short Bible verse silently or just focus on quieting your mind for a few minutes. It’s always helpful to recenter yourself in this way and then get back into the work at hand. 

#2 – Try stretching or taking a short walk. God created us as spiritual and physical beings. Both aspects are equally important to Him despite the Western mindset that the body takes a backseat to the spirit of man. As long as we’re in the body, we need to take better care of it. To neglect ourselves physically affects our emotions and our spiritual health. We’re called to the highest stewardship of everything God’s entrusted to us, including our bodies, so they must be important to Him, too. 

What if you took a few minutes in each work-hour to stretch? It’s well-documented that a sedentary lifestyle is a killer. Inactivity certainly kills creativity, so try standing more often, stretching, and taking some deep breaths to refresh your physical self.  

#3 – Feed your soul. Burnout happens when we’ve worked ourselves so hard and long that we lose our joy. We become physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted and can begin to dread and resent our leadership duties. That’s a terrible place to get to, but many leaders, maybe even you, know exactly what I’m talking about. In seasons when I’ve struggled with burnout, one of the best remedies has been to take some time to feed my soul again.  

Sometimes we get so caught up in pouring ourselves out for others that we forget to pour into ourselves. We stop listening to music or reading for the pure enjoyment of it. We slack off in our devotion and worship times and become “professional worship leaders,” reduced to only singing in rehearsals and services. 

Try taking a few minutes each day to listen to one song you love. It doesn’t even have to be a worship song, just any song that brings deep meaning to you and helps you remember what makes you love music. Take a few to read a certain poem or passage that always gets to you and makes you feel alive again. Remember that self-care is not selfishness, but a necessity for great leadership. 

Five Minutes to Fresh Leadership and Creativity 

Taking control of your calendar to build in regular times of reading, listening, reflection, and personal worship is critical to warding off burnout. Stretching, breathing deeply, and walking brings fresh energy and even just five minutes each day can transform your attitude and renew your joy.  

Yes, others are depending on you to lead them. But if you’re used up, burnt out, and suffering from leadership fatigue, you’ll never be able to serve them well.  

Again, self care is not selfishness. It’s a vital part of leadership life. And, by the way, all of these tips work equally well in your songwriting. Use them to overcome leadership fatigue and even creative fatigue. We need you to be at your best and even five recaptured minutes each day can make all the difference. 

About John Chisum

John Chisum is a veteran songwriter, publisher, and worship leader. He was VP of Publishing for Star Song Media and Director of Song Development & Copyright for Integrity Music. He is currently President of Nashville Christian Songwriters. He has been married to Donna for 39 years and they have one daughter, Aly.