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When Discouragement Becomes Dangerous

From "Dangerously Discouraged" in the November/December 2008 issue of Children's Ministry magazine...

1. I look forward to my ministry work.
2. Despite minor frustrations or even failures, I generally feel a sense of accomplishment when it comes to my ministry.
3. I feel motivated when I think of my ministry.
4. I am energized when I imagine the future possibilities of my ministry.
5. I have plenty of support from other leaders in the church and from my pastor.
6. I have a good relationship with my volunteer team.
7. When we have a ministry success, it's really a team success.
8. I feel we successfully connect to the parents my ministry serves.
9. My contribution to the ministry is a source of personal fulfillment.
10. I would like to still be serving in this ministry in 5 years.
11. I feel valued by church members.
12. I feel valued by my leader.
13. I can't imagine doing anything more fulfilling than what I do now.
14. My life outside my ministry work is healthy -- I get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and have healthy relationships.
15. In the past three months, my life has been stable and generally good.
16. I feel hopeful and generally positive about my future.
17. I don't cry easily.
18. I don't think others would describe me as moody.
19. I haven't felt hopeless or depressed except in passing moments.
20. I feel like what I do matters and that I matter to people in my life.

If you answered "NO" to:

Less than 5 questions:
You're dealing with the frustrations of ministry in a healthy and normal way. Seek out a good friend outside the ministry who'll be your sounding board when you get frustrated. Hang onto your positive outlook-it will serve you well!

5 to 10 questions:
You're dealing with a moderate level of frustration that you should take seriously. Shore up your outside-of-ministry support with a good friend who listens well, and talk with your leader or pastor. It's important to deal with specific issues that are causing you the most frustration or discouragement before your moderate discouragement becomes worse.

More than 10 questions:
You're dealing with discouragement, burnout, and serious frustration. You need immediate assistance from a trusted leader who can help you sort through issues and make a plan to overcome your discouragement. If you have felt this way for more than even a couple months, you may need to set an appointment with your physician to get a regular checkup to ensure you're not dealing with a medical issue. Your spiritual leader can help you begin to focus on healing yourself by taking time out to be with God. If a ministry situation is the root of these feelings, it's time to take action to remedy the situation so your well-being isn't compromised.

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