The 5 classic struggles of leaders aged 35-50

1. Burn-out.

Busyness, over commitment and pressure take their inevitable toll. Emotional, physical, relational and spiritual depletion lead to burnout, a clinical condition with a long, hard road to recovery.

2. Drop-out.

Unfulfilled dreams, discouragement and disillusionment lead the person to either leaving their area of ministry to engage in a different occupation, or continuing their ministry role but with little heart or energy for it, often finding personal fulfilment in a peripheral area of ministry that eventually becomes central.

3. Level-out.

The person reaches a plateau and, for whatever reason, stops growing as a leader.

4. Fall-out.

Fuelled by unmet emotional needs and over commitments, the leader succumbs to escapist sin in a desire to meet the increasin sense of hollowness within.

5. Spread-out.

With a growing uncertainty about the focus of their ministry, the leader dabbles in an ever-widening array of activities. Often gifted in many areas, they may be competent for most of the tasks, but the lack of focus leaves a rising sense of dissatisfaction.

James Lawrence, Growing Leaders – Cultivating Discipleship for Yourself and Others (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 30-31.

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