I can’t stress the importance of getting rest from ministry work. If you’re a ministry volunteer, worker or leader, you know how busy the ministry can get. It’s not just a Sunday thing. It takes up time and energy, and of course, we want to give our best because ministry work is for God.
Remember that you’re human. Giving your best means getting the rest you need to recharge and refuel so you can continue giving your best. Getting that rest is easier said than done, but it can be easily done if we adjust our thinking.
Think recess instead of lunch. A staycation instead of vacation. Snacks instead of meals. Think short and sweet.
Short and sweet breaks are easily done!
Getting little breaks from ministry work will help you catch your breath. Those little moments forces you to step back from situations and challenges. They can help you get new perspective and come back with renewed energy, like a midday pick-me-up snack or a 30-minute workout. You need take breaks before you break down.
What are some ways to find and take short and sweet breaks?
1. Practice the Sabbath.
It does not have to be Sunday. It doesn’t even have to be an entire day! It has to be moments of intentionally resting in the Lord. Most Sundays are workdays for ministry workers and leaders. I pray that you are getting spiritually fed, workday Sunday may be (If not, there’s a problem), but you also need that rest in the Lord.
There was a December 25th that fell on a Sunday. I was so excited because I love Christmas and looked forward to celebrating the birth of Christ with my fellow Christians. But I was in the Christmas production and I didn’t have a chance to breathe it all in. I didn’t miss out on the celebrations and the fellowship, but I missed out on just being with Jesus and refreshing my spirit through fellowship with Him.
The Sabbath was created for us, so we can get the benefits of simply being with God. If you can’t practice the Sabbath on Sundays because of ministry work, then find other days and times to practice it. Find an hour and go on a walk with worship music flowing into your ears. Take twenty-minutes of your lunch break to meditate on His Word. Arrive early to an appointment so you can pray in your car for five minutes. Find those Sabbath moments.
2. Schedule your day off.
Like the Sabbath, this doesn’t even have to be an entire day! Unlike the Sabbath, these are times you spend as you wish. Grab coffee with a friend, shop at Target or Amazon, or reorganize your spice cabinet.
If you work in the ministry full-time, maybe this is an actual day off. Like Mondays or Wednesdays because weekends are usually workdays. Use your day off for non-ministry work. Admit it, on your day off, you still do things for the ministry, don’t you? You say you’ll go to Target to shop around, but you end up buying ministry materials. You’re that person with a cart full of Clearance-priced candy and snacks, and none of it is for you.
It’s okay to take a day off!
Even if you only work part time or volunteer sometimes. There will be seasons in your life when life is too much. Yes, the ministry needs you desperately, but God is our Provider. Do you think His work will fall apart if you took a day off? A hour off? I doubt it.
3. Delegate and trust.
It can be hard to release control, especially if you have specific ideas and ways of doing things. Delegation is important in keeping your sanity, however. And trust is a 3-way street. God trusts you and your team with His ministry. You and your team trust God to have it all in His hands. You trust the people in your team with the tasks you delegated to them. They trust you to have their backs.
When you delegate and trust tasks and responsibilities, you can find more short and sweet breaks because you’re not doing everything.
4. Schedule breaks in ministry events.
I started scheduling leader/volunteer breaks in the VBS schedule and it worked great, especially for the rotations. Everyone was able to get a breather, use the bathroom, grab a snack (not away from the kids!), and satisfy their social media attention. Aye, this generation 😉 They also used this time to catch up and get ready for the next group or activity.
If you’re not in charge of event schedule, you can suggest the idea especially for big events. Even in big events, there are usually moments where volunteer breaks can naturally happen. In VBS, for example, we had 3 age groups and 4 rotation sites. There’s always a site that had no kids. That’s a natural break time. Find those moments and use them to catch your breath.
5. Clock out and say no.
After church, after an event, after you did all you had to do for the ministry plus more, clock out. For example:
You finished cleaning up the Sunday School room and you head into the fellowship hall for the church potluck dinner. Someone asks you to sit at the kids table. Say no. You’re not a glorified babysitter. As much as you love children, you need to fellowship with people your age. You need more of the body of Christ that can carry adult conversation and speak life into your life.
You arrive at a Women’s event as a participant. Someone asks you to take care of kids that unexpectedly arrived with their moms. Say no. You need to be spiritually fed. If a ministry needs your ministry assistance for an event, they should have arranged it with you before hand.
These are Children’s Ministry examples because that’s my background 🙂 but whatever ministry you’re in, you need to draw the line. You need to clock out, say no, and take care of yourself (spiritually, physically, and in every way).
If you want to be on top of your game in the ministry, you need to take breaks from ministry work. You need to know your limits. You need to catch your breath. You need to step back and re-energize. And above all, you need to place your relationship with God first.