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Does technology accelerate minister burnout?

A woman looks at her phone with a bucolic landscape in the background

Does technology accelerate minister burnout?

Photo from Flickr user Fro-Dol-Foe

Minister burnout is not a new phenomenon, but one researcher thinks that it’s particularly bad for Millennials because of their relationship to technology. Lancaster Online columnist and non-parochial Episcopal priest, Elizabeth Eisenstadt-Evans, reports that professor Rick Rhoads is finding that the process of burnout occurs faster for Millennials than Gen Xers or Boomers in ministry.

From the article:

“Millennials  (known as ‘digital natives’) are unique,” says Rhoads, a professor of student ministry at Lancaster Bible College & Capital Seminary who has spent the last three years engaged in researching this phenomenon  in countries as diverse as England, South Africa and South Korea.

“They are raised on technology, see the medium as an extension of their humanity, and have a high rate of burnout because they are always connected.”

A common stereotype of Millennials is that they are always connected and don’t know how to disengage from technology. Unfortunately, his research hasn’t been published yet, so we can’t assess the validity of the conclusions, or review the data he’s used.

Do you see these stereotypes of Millennials as true? Do you feel that you can’t disengage from your networking? Does it feel like a burden to you?


Posted by David Streever


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Christopher Adams

As someone engaged in parish ministry since 2008, and a Millenial, I can say that creating healthy boundaries for the use of technology in ministry has been essential to remaining clear-headed and rested while ‘off-the-clock.’ I’m fully aware that no priest is ever ‘off-the-clock’, but I have noticed that when I persist in checking emails and responding to Facebook posts and texts that aren’t life-threatening or pressing issues, I seem to feel more distracted and frustrated at an inability to get some rest and peace. Setting boundaries for myself in the last few years, especially after succumbing to usage of an iPhone, has been quite helpful.

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