This article from Rob Shepherd has some great musings on the busyness and pressures of pastoral ministry.
The post struck me especially because of this video I posted a few days ago and the huge amount of feedback I've received about pastors doing so much between Sundays.
Balance in life and ministry is so important. It's not a myth, it's just seasonal. It looks different at different times of life and times of the year.
Last night, we went to a ministry team gathering for a few hours. Tonight, we went to a class event for a few hours. Earlier in the week there was the discipleship group, the counseling, the leadership team meetings, many phone calls, hundreds of emails and texts, and numerous other ministry activities throughout the week. Tomorrow, I'll teach twice and we'll have several families from church over to our house to get to know them better and just hang out over some good food and a football game.
If that sounds crazy, you should also know that I recently took several days of vacation and had LOTS of wonderful family time and extended time in Bible study, prayer, and personal development and brainstorming. Just this week I spent many hours with my family in the evenings and I watched my kids for a few hours today so my wife could do ministry.
I'm not trying to appear overworked or make it look like I always have everything neatly put together. Neither of those would be true. I'm trying to show the reality of ministry life and the balance and boundaries that are so important to stay spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy.
My point is that ministry can be crazy at times and that's OK. If you're not in ministry, your life is probably equally crazy at times. There's no difference there. Here are six things that I think are critical for keeping your sanity and not running dry:
- Walk closely with God and maintain consistent disciplines in Bible study and prayer.
- Make time for friends and mentors who are outside your normal routine and refresh you personally.
- Establish healthy boundaries around family time and whatever recharges you and stick to them.
- Learn to let go of little things that have little results and focus most of your energy on the things that matter most.
- ABC - Always Be Coaching. Your ability to keep from burnout is directly tied to your intentionality in developing your team and handing off authority and responsibility. Don't forget to hand off credit generously as well.
- Understand that you cannot be all things to all people, you will not always get to explain yourself, and maintaining your reputation is much more in God's hands than in your own.