Pastors, come away and rest awhile

April 6, 2020

You might think it would be easier for pastors to find time for rest and replenishment during a stay-at-home order. Think again.

New realities brought about by the coronavirus have created new and different challenges for life and ministry. Plus, it’s hard to shake the cultural norms that teach us that busyness equals effectiveness, and effectiveness equals importance and worth. Pastors must resist the temptation to live into this world system.

We must understand that recreation and rest are theological words found throughout Scripture, as well as the life and ministry of Jesus. When we develop a theological understanding of recreation and rest, the result is what all good theology should do — inform our actions. Even amid a global pandemic.

Here are five practical ways to find time for rest as you minister in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

  1. Have clarity in your calling.
    As pastors, we must be sure of the task to which God has called us. There is something within us that pushes us to take on all of the ministry needs within a community of believers. However, God has gifted each of us differently. The more clarity we have in the work He has for us, the more effective leaders we will become. Jesus was clear about the work the Father had sent Him to do — to seek and to save the lost. Clarity in your calling, not busyness, is what allows you to be effective.
  2. Spend more time in Scripture and prayer.
    In Jesus’ own life and ministry, almost every time there is a crisis moment or big decision to make, He pulls away to spend time with His Father. Increase your time in the Word and prayer during this season.
  3. Establish a strategic plan for shepherding.
    During this crisis, we must be strategic in caring for the body of Christ. Under normal circumstances this is a difficult task. Now it has become even more difficult. Empower your deacons, elders, Sunday School teachers and group leaders to reach out and care for the body of Christ. Don’t assume everyone is being cared for, and don’t take on that responsibility by yourself. Have a detailed plan that utilizes as many people as possible.
  4. Have a dedicated workspace.
    Like so many others, pastors have also found themselves working from home for the foreseeable future. During this time, dedicate a certain area of your home to work. At the end of the workday, leave that area, and don’t go back until the next day. This allows a sense of separation between work life and home life.
  5. Schedule a day off.
    Establish a day off, and keep it. Put it on your calendar, and do not let that day be an option for anything else. Your family needs you to be physically and emotionally present during this time.

To borrow a running analogy, this crisis is a marathon and not a sprint. Your family and church need you to have “fresh legs” at the end of this race. Take time to rest and replenish.


by Sandy Marks  
Church Health and Revitalization  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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