It is 10 days before Easter as I write this. On my left is a list of the things I need to do throughout this week and next. Included among them are four worship services to finalize, seven sermons to write, and one funeral to plan. I serve a small congregation with one service each time we meet. For many ministry leaders reading this article, my list may actually be much shorter than yours. Such busyness is not atypical for ministry workers and leaders during this time of year. Of course, along with their professional work, many ministry leaders have families to enjoy and other responsibilities to maintain.
As a result, Easter may not be full of hope, joy, and peace for the very people who are working to make it a reality for the rest of us.

What are ministry leaders to do? The answer is simple but not easy: Sabbath. During these busy seasons of ministry and life, sabbath is just as important as in our smooth times. Sure, sabbath will look different because of the heightened amount of responsibilities and the large amount of time needed to meet them. Yet, it cannot be ignored. Take time to rest your body, your mind, and your spirit.

Maybe this means taking a nap in your car (though a bed would be better). Maybe it means playing a game for 30 minutes instead of rushing to the next task to do. Maybe it means spending extra time in prayer or study. Maybe it means going for a walk after a worship service. You know yourself. What gives you rest? For me, I need rest for my mind more than anything. So, this Holy Week, I will be taking time to sit in silence and practice peace of mind through meditation.

What can others do? Help the ministry leaders in your life by first understanding how stressful this season can be. Even seasoned ministry leaders will be tired, irritable, or numbed. Having people that “get it” is a big benefit. However, beyond understanding, others can provide opportunities for rest or simply partner with us when we need some time to find peace. Maybe someone at the church can take on the “busy work” ministry leaders do to prepare for their service. Maybe a loved one can give us a long hug to get us through. Sometimes asking is too much work for ministry leaders, so take initiative when you can.
In the end, “this too shall pass” and the season’s stress will melt away. As we move through it though, remember Sabbath is a gift that God has given to give us energy and peace amid such stressful times.
Take time to Sabbath – not as another “to-do” but as a breather and a refresher.

Nate Whittaker, Coach

Categories: Leadership


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