Self-care for group leaders in the new normal

April 1, 2020

Just a few weeks ago, we went to work or school, came home, ate dinner and went to bed in a very ordinary way. And as a Sunday School or small group leader, we sought to grow our group deeper in Bible study, create a loving community and be on mission together.

Then suddenly, we heard the term COVID-19, and everything began to change.

We awakened to a world in which schools are closed, businesses are struggling and people are working from home — if they are working at all. “Social distancing” has become part of our conversation and practice, as has “shelter in place.” People who live alone have never been lonelier.

At a time like this, we need to care for others as best we can, but we also need self-compassion. Have you taken the time you need to care for yourself? With so many needs around us, it’s easy to deny that we also must care for ourselves.

You may even think it’s unbiblical or selfish, but consider this – in the Great Commandment, Jesus said that we should love God with all of our heart, mind and strength. Then He said this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus didn’t say to love your neighbor as you love God or your children, but as you love yourself?

As we attempt to adjust to the new normal, we need to practice self-care in order to be able to care well for others.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following suggestions:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. 
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Though our minds may be overwhelmed with constant bad news, set aside time to focus on the good news. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


by Rick Hughes  /  
Sunday School and Small Groups /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

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