Developing a Healthy Rhythm for Yourself and for Your Ministry
When you hear the word “rest,” what do you think? Is rest the thing you never get enough of? Is rest the thing that people get to experience when they retire (especially from ministry)? Or, in your mind, is rest the thing that you need in order to be the best version of who God has created you to be?
How about the word “rhythm?” I’m not talking about a tap your foot to the beat kind of rhythm, but an “I have a healthy pace of life” rhythm that allows you to accomplish the tasks before you in a joyful, fulfilling way?
If we’re honest, rest and rhythm are often elusive in ministry. In a calling where we are always “on,” it’s hard to find the time and space to have the elusive “healthy work-life balance.” As you step into a new season of life and ministry, consider a few things you can do to make sure you are in a better place to both grow yourself and lead those God has called you to lead.
Give Yourself Permission to Rest
That’s right, you can take the time you need to rest and recharge, and you should be taking that time regularly. I’m certainly not advocating being lazy and walking away from your responsibilities, but please make sure you are taking care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. We all know that you can’t pour out what you don’t have, so make sure to fill up in whatever (healthy) way works for you. Take time to not only recharge personally but make sure you are recharging spiritually, incorporating a regular sabbath and life-giving community that will help you grow in your faith.
As you think about what you do on a regular basis, take some time to discern whether there are things you are doing that other people can do. That’s right, delegate. There are some things in your job and ministry that only you can do, but I’d be willing to bet that there are some things you are doing that others would love to do. God has gifted us in so many different ways, and you could be holding on to a great opportunity for someone else. Make time and space in your schedule by giving away some of the things you do. This may take some extra time and effort on the front end as you help someone learn a new task, but, in the long run, it will give you more margin to focus on other things.
One of the keys to developing a healthy and sustainable rhythm to life and ministry is to plan ahead. Often youth workers live into the stereotype that we like to “wing it” and plan things last minute. If that’s your tendency, fight it and develop a system that will help you plan and stay ahead. Nothing creates chaos and an unsustainable pace more than poor planning. Take some time to look ahead and make some decisions for the ministry calendar. Be at least six to nine months ahead if you can. As you plan and put things on the calendar, include intentional time to be working on things along the way. Don’t let intentional planning be a one-time deal; make it a regular part of how you do ministry.
We all want to live and lead well, and building healthy rhythms can be a game changer both personally and professionally. You likely have other strategies to help yourself be at your best, so make sure to focus on whatever you have to in order to create the pace of life and ministry that you desire.