An Exploration of African American Pastors Use of Spiritual Disciplines to Combat Spiritual Burnout

Full Title
An Exploration of African American Pastors Use of Spiritual Disciplines to Combat Spiritual Burnout
Herman L. Baxter Sr. D.Min.
Leading in ministry can be a challenging job. The struggle to fulfill a divine calling while being human leaves no rest for the weary. African American pastor is no exception. These spiritual leaders often experience spiritual dryness – stress, and burnout - due to excessive demands that may lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion. Days run into nights and, as they say in Broadway, “the show must go on” for most pastors every week. Many weary pastors combat spiritual dryness – fatigue, burnout, depression, and more – longing for more “peace that surpasses all understanding.” It is no wonder that some pastors do not remain in the ministry after five years. Trying to minister in this state is not ideal, yet many pastors remain resilient.

Throughout the history of the Christian church, practicing spiritual disciplines have been a means to spiritual renewal. However, across the United States, these practices to combat spiritual dryness are done a little differently in predominately African American led churches.

This study will gather qualitative research through in-depth interviews to discover how seven selected African American senior pastors combat spiritual dryness. The interview questions noted circumstances for times of spiritual dryness, the pastors’ experiences through spiritual dryness, and the process to combat spiritual dryness. This understanding helped these African American pastors overcome spiritual dryness. Interview responses will produce common themes and confirm three significant elements to combating spiritual dryness. First, the participants will identify different spiritual discipline practices for other times of spiritual dryness. Next, they will concur that upholding a robust biblical discipline is needed to prepare for times of spiritual burnout. Finally, participants will verify that a healthy dependence on God is required to maintain spiritual wellness. This project concludes with the participants’ suggestions for how newly assigned Christian leaders can most effectively combat spiritual dryness.
Degree Granting Institution
United States
Degree Granted
Doctor of Ministry
Type of Work
Terrance Woodson D.Min.
Paul Pettit D.Min.
Number of Pages
Copyright Statement
Copyright is held by author. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.