Ministry begins with rest. It does not spawn from the roots of strategy and busyness. Ministry is not birthed from growth principles and how-to books. It emerges from resting in God.
Our leaders, ministers, and pastors are bombarded with ideas, philosophies, and strategies to make church better. There is a tendency for leaders to feel the burden of having to run the constant treadmill of ministry. The unfortunate result is burnout.
Rest, however, is what releases our pastors and minister into a successful rhythm of healthy leadership.
The command to “remember the Sabbath” seems to be one that always gets neglected. It is a command, however, that God made to aid in human flourishing. Our leaders, ministers, and pastors can do well for themselves and for their congregation by practicing Sabbath well. We, as congregants, need to make space and encourage our pastors to take time away.
One simple way leaders can take breaks from their ordinary work, so they can be refreshed and enriched is to take some contemplative time off. Prayer, solitude, journaling, reading, and reflecting are all crucial ways that we can replenish our inward resting in Jesus.
Another way to Sabbath well is to take some aesthetic time off. God, in the Genesis account, rested from His work, at least, partly in order to enjoy His creation. It is absolutely appropriate for us to take time to simply enjoy the beauty of God’s world. When we enjoy nature, it refreshes and energizes us in unique ways.
A third way to rest in the Lord is to carve out unplanned time. This means having a day that you can do whatever comes to mind or in your heart to do. We need this kind of complete cessation from activity, otherwise, even planned time offs can become just another form of tiring exertion.
Our ministers, leaders, and pastors need rest. We need to give them space to do so.
Let us pray they get the Sabbath they need in order to be rhythmically renewed for ministry.