Resting...

Tricia and I have been talking a lot lately about resting and living a life that values the Sabbath. As much as anything else, Sabbath is a mindset, not just a day. God has taught me that resting is a faith issue. The question is: Do I trust God enough to take Him at His Word when He says that resting every six days is best for me? Right now, I take Mondays off. I am a big advocate of Mondays off for Senior Pastors. Monday is typically the lowest day for pastors. We rarely feel like we preached well enough. Attendance hardly ever meets our expectations. Monday mornings are when the negative phone calls hit our voicemail and the negative emails hit our inboxes. Why NOT avoid that? Monday is also an easier day to rest for me because EVERYTHING can be procrastinated on Monday! It is by nature the least urgent day of the week when it comes to preaching. Every day after Monday, the message for Sunday gets a little more urgent for me. On our team, we have moved all of our Staff meetings to Tuesdays through Thursdays, so Pastors can take off either Monday OR Friday off. What’s most important to me is not WHEN a pastor takes a day off; just that they do! I want them to pick a rhythm that works for them and their families. I know that when pastors are tired, they are more vulnerable to temptation. When our church launched Saturday Night services, we set into place what we call a “Preservation Plan,” which outlines not only how much vacation we have; but we gave more vacation; more off days; and more comp days. We've also  became stringent about keeping realistic office hours and not being at the office on our days off! I feel like it's my responsibility to God to help preserve the team He has given me. Quite frankly, I am almost never out more than two nights per week; almost never. Ask my assistant. I have asked her to hold me accountable in this area. I have also asked my wife to help me here. She’s more than willing. She helps preserve me. I currently take about six weeks of vacation each year. Two of these weeks are back-to-back weeks in the Summer. That second week is always amazing, because I have had an entire week to learn to shut down my crazy mind and begin to think and move at a different pace. The second week recharges my batteries like no other experience during the year. I try not to teach more than seventy percent of the time. Teaching too much drains me physically, emotionally, and spiritually, especially when you;re teaching four times every weekend.  These are just a few of the things I do to keep myself rested and recharged.  I have just learned the hard way that if I don’t rest, I will be more vulnerable to the temptation to quit in the days to come. You will, too. After fifteen years of vocational ministry, I am finally learning how to rest. Do you trust God enough to begin to learn to rest? What’s your plan?