Called: How our Conference Systems and Support Saved Me from Burnout - Daniel Kipp

Transition into Ministry Program


          I’m an externally motivated person, something that I’ve learned through the Ordination Process and through my time in Transition into Ministry (TiM). Things and people in my local setting direct and energize me. TiM has helped me realize I need a calendar to boss me through the day. I excelled in school when I had a clear syllabus and deadlines. I struggled when I entered ministry and needed to be a “self-starter”.
I felt lost and angry because I wanted to live out my call and I felt unfaithful and unacceptable because I had no drive. My first years of ministry are marked by big over the top moments in a sea of emptiness. I would spend weeks with very low productivity and guilt before mustering the energy to make something happen and I was on my way to burning out. Those first years were spent trying to be good enough and worried that I was unacceptable.

         The good news is that we are not alone. I believe that God is actively present in the world. Cosmic redemption is at play all around us. United Methodists assert that we are called by God to “Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The unsaid part of our mission is my favorite. “Local churches and extension ministries of the Church provide the most significant arenas through which disciple-making occurs.” There is a reminder here that the people who make up the church are the ones God uses.

            This is exciting for me! First, it is nice to know that we are loved and that we have a purpose. For me, it is exciting to have direction. TiM continues to present opportunities for me to learn about ministry and about how I am called. This has come as I sit with a mentor and learn how they do ministry. This has come as I partner with a team in my church that is honest and helps me work on growing into my leadership. This has come in retreats and cohorts where I’ve learned that being externally motivated is good.

            I’ve learned that systems and calendars are my friends. This process has also allowed me to better utilize staff that I am teamed with. I know what my tendencies are as a manager and I know what support I need. I love God, our church, and our world. That love would have burned out and I’d be out of ministry if it weren’t for the support of our Conference helping me to know and accept myself. I feel like I’m equipped to access my capacity as a leader because of the time I’ve spent in phase 1 of TiM. Thank you!