5 bits of wisdom for the professional Christian woman
Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Resurgence roundup, 5/17/13
Fri May 17, 2013
Grace all the way
Wed May 15, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
How to be on mission in the city
Wed May 15, 2013
by Stephen Um
Taking a Break From the Lord's Work?
We have a theology of work but no theology of leisure. We don’t know how to relax and totally disengage; feeling guilty when we do so. We live our lives without margin and fill each day with little room for Sabbath or divine interruptions.
In a recent article in the NY Times, Paul Vitello addresses an issue that is well known: pastor burnout. There is no disagreement as to the problem, but varying ideas on the solution. Paul Vitello’s main solution is taking more vacation time; and certainly all the time we have coming to us.
Time off would undoubtedly help, but there are deeper issues involved:
We have put ministry and service where Jesus belongs.
We get our identity and value in what we accomplish in our work (the number of people we serve, the number of things we are responsible for, the number of things we get done) and not from who we are in Jesus. This is a huge and significant issue that no amount of vacation is going to solve. Longevity and health in ministry will be a result of who you are in Jesus, more than what you do for Jesus. 1 John 5:21 warns us about idols. Ministry can and has become an idol for a lot of us
We see Sabbath as a day or time frame rather than a heart attitude.
We need to practice Sabbath by intentionally engaging and intentionally disengaging through the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Resting Isn’t Selfish
In Leaders Who Last, I devote a chapter, titled "Pacing," to these issues. Here is a statement from a local newspaper in the chapter:
In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between action and rest. There is a universal refrain: I am so busy. As it all piles endlessly upon itself, the whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation. Sabbath time is a revolutionary challenge to the violence of overwork. Many of us, in our desperate drive to be successful and care for our many responsibilities, feel terrible guilt when we take time to rest.
4 Ways to Keep From Burning Out
What is the solution to exhausted and burned-out pastors as well as other leaders giving lots of time to ministry?
- Confess making an idol of work and find your identity and worth in Jesus and him alone
- Practice Sabbath on a daily basis, taking short breaks as needed. Don’t kill yourself at work day after day and then pray for a vacation to save you
- Learn how to say no to some of the needs, demands, and people that come to your attention. You can be concerned without being responsible. Say no to a lot of things so you can say yes to a few things. Say yes to less!
- Develop other leaders to carry the burden with you (Numbers 11:17).
Most people in ministry try to do too much and travel too fast. Believe it or not, you are dispensable. Only Jesus is indispensable.