Let's face it: Ministry is not a 40 hour week job. I know, shocker, right? Especially during the holidays things can get CRAZY. Here's the question I have for pastors as we enter the cray holiday ministry season:
"How can we go ALL-OUT with our BURNING OUT?"
As leaders, of course, this is not just a question we need to answer for ourselves. It's a question we need to answer for the teams we lead! How can we shepherd and care for our team and their families during times of ministry intensity? I'll give you three practical ways today:
1. Pursue rhythm, rather than balance.
Balance is a myth. I don’t even think balance is a Biblical concept. The Bible seems to advocate embracing a certain rhythm of life, rather than balance. Think about it: we invented the 40 hr workweek. Originally everyone worked six days a week, from sun-up to sundown. That’s 72 hrs! Encouraged? But then, guess what? They did NOTHING the seventh day!
Six days of intensity followed by one day of rest. That'sBiblical rhythm. The holidays are a time of ministry intensity. There's nothing wrong with that. I believe God wants us to lay it on the line for Him, so people will give Christ and the church one more shot this season! It's harvest time!
However, I still believe God intends for us to follow times of intensity with times of intense rest. Tell your team now that we will all lay it on the line for these next few weeks, but then we’ll dial it back for a couple weeks between Christmas and the kickoff of the new ministry year. Then we’ll go again! That’s rhythm.
What we want to do is follow seasons of intensity with seasons of rest; and tell everyone thats what we’re going to do! If everyone knows a Sabbath season is coming, it makes the season of intensity more bearable!
I NEVER teach the weekend after Christmas. I rest! I usually take the entire week off! But it’s not just for me. What could it look like for us to offer this for our entire team after Christmas?
Last Christmas Eve at Mountain Lake Church where I pastored for sixteen years, we had volunteer teams ready to process EVERY spiritual decision and every offering given immediately after every service.
We followed up with every guest and sever spiritual decision via email before we left the building on Christmas Eve, so we could leave there Christmas Eve and shut down for a few days!
What if we told our entire team that the offices would be closed Christmas day though the new year? Do you think everyone just might come back rejuvenated?
Our teams will be so much more willing to lay it on the line for 4-6 weeks of intensity if they know that a season of rest will follow!
2. Celebrate early!
Last year, I planned a Corn Maze and hayride day for our entire Ministry Team right after Thanksgiving, so our entire team could laugh and have fun together before the manic Christmas season.
I circled them up to cast vision for the time of intensity ahead. The first week of December, BEFORE it got too crazy, we had a big Christmas party, played games, and allowed everyone the opportunity to share about what Jesus meant to them. They shared about what being part of our team meant to them. Wow. We were all ready to tackle Hell with a water gun after this evening!
What does that look like for you to celebrate Christmas early WITH YOUR TEAM?
3. On the big weekend, bless your staff and their families.
Last Christmas Eve, our church had 12 services across four campuses . We knew the potential of dragging all our staff kids all over the place on Christmas Eve. SO we set up a room on our main campus for childcare for all of our staff kids. We equipped this room with TV's, Movies, Xbox’s Game Cubes, and even Inflatables! This past Christmas, we had Christmas goodie bags for all of our staff kids.
These days our staff kids look FORWARD to our church's hectic holiday worship schedules, and over time, we have set a culture where it’s more of a privilege to be a pastor’s kid than a cross to bear! I believe the dividends of that culture will be far reaching.
This holiday season how will you go all-out without burning out?
How will you help your entire team do the same?
Pause now and begin to dream and plan with your team about how you can do just that this Holiday Season.
I’d love to hear your ideas! Drop me a line!