8 things that happen when pastors don't get enough rest

June 21, 2021

Yesterday I posted about why pastors are especially tired these days. Many of us in ministry get too little rest (and I’m one of the guilty ones), and we need to think about making changes. Here are some of the possible results of our not getting enough rest:

  1. We run the risk of inadvertently illustrating a gospel that ignores the body.
    In his book, “A Theology for the Church,” Russell Moore writes, “Because we believe in the resurrection of the body, we know our bodies are not expendable vehicles for our souls.” We must not prioritize and idolize our bodies, but we cannot neglect them, either.
  2. We have little energy to do all that the pastorate demands.
    Pastoral ministry is not easy. It’s emotionally and physically draining. Rest helps us have the energy we need for this work.
  3. We often neglect our spiritual disciplines.
    We’re just too tired to read the Word. Like the disciples, we sleep when we should be praying. And, we don’t steward our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16) to get the rest that God demands.
  4. We’re more susceptible to temptation.
    In general, we’re less aware and less alert when we don’t get sufficient rest. It’s hard to put on the full armor of God when you’re worn out.
  5. We’re often more short-tempered with others.
    Our family bears the brunt of our weariness, and our church members might, too. In fact, we might show who we really are when fatigue sets in.
  6. We lower our leadership capacity.
    I’ve been there, and you probably have, too – you’re so tired you can’t pay attention, and you can’t even remember the details of the meeting you led. Weariness almost always equals less attentiveness.
  7. We make ourselves more susceptible to other illnesses.
    A fatigued body is less prepared to respond to the germs and illnesses readily passed through church families that spend a lot of time together.
  8. We’re likely undisciplined in other areas of our life as well.
    Seldom have I met a person who is undisciplined in only one area. Those of us who choose not to get enough rest usually make unhealthy choices in other areas, too.

Please pray for me about this issue. And, what other results would you add to this list?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. This post first appeared at www.chucklawless.com.


by Chuck Lawless  /  
Vice President for Spiritual Formation  /  Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

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