Hey pastors and ministry leaders, take care of yourself!!!
The demands of ministry can be draining, so you must refuel. Stress in leadership can ruin your ministry. A stressed minister does not reveal who you really are. But a joyful minister means a joyful ministry.
As my mentor Rev. Rose Gillespie always told me, we minister what we are, not just what we say.
The Sabbath principle teaches us to give six days of hard work every week, but every seventh day is to be a day of rest. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for mankind, not mankind for the Sabbath. This means it’s to our advantage to have a Sabbath rest every week. (Ex 20:8-11)
The word “rest” means to cease or unplug from your regular labor…what you do the other six days of the week. This is so you can refresh and renew your relationship with God. Just having a “day off” is not enough. It’s about hitting the reset button on your relationship with God.
This is why being faithful to worship with your local church on Sunday is so important. Attending church services is one of our reset buttons. But for a minister, Sundays are often not a day we cease from our regular labor. Your “Sabbath” may be another day of the week.
Whenever you “rest”, realize this may mean “fasting” your cell phone, lap top, and social media. Yep, My wife reminds me of this one.
This may include starting a new book, visiting a friend (not in your ministry), taking a nice ride on a motorcycle (a personal favorite), finishing a household project, a hobby, or sitting in your backyard listening to the wind blow through the trees. Just you and Jesus hanging out, and saying no to the impulse to plunge back into ministry responsibilities. (I am doing better at this, but it does take practice.)
And it may mean getting a little more, well, rest. Sleep in, take a nap. Some people really need to catch up on sleep. A recent study I read said that people who get 8 hours daily live longer than those who only get 6 or 7. Hmmm.
But take time for just you and God, to worship Him sincerely, to wonder at His Word, and to contemplate your place in the cosmos.
I get fresh perspective every time I do this, and I didn’t have to take a vacation to Hawaii (although that would be nice too). What I am saying is that renewal is within everyone’s reach. It just takes doing what Mary did – chosing that which is to your advantage. (Lk 10:38-42 AMP)
You work hard in the ministry serving others. Don’t let it burn you out. Jesus had his disciples come apart before they came apart, and so should you. Remember that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)
The law of diminishing returns catches up to every one of us when we don’t take time for ourselves. It’s not a selfish thing to do. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most sincerely loving things you can give your church or ministry… a refreshed you.
So stop beating yourself up every time you think about doing this. It may be God talking to you.
Give your brain a break. Give your emotions a break. Give your body a break. Take care of yourself as God intends. Remember that a dull ax requires more work. (Ecc 10:10) Keep your edge by taking care of yourself. You will like yourself more, and so will others.
All for Jesus, George W Black