As servants in children’s ministry, there are multiple demands placed on us.
Some of those demands are external and include job responsibilities related to our position of leadership. They may include the need for more volunteers, restructuring Sunday School classes, preparing next week’s Bible lesson, or planning the upcoming Christmas drama.
Some of those demands are internal and include anxieties that may weigh upon our hearts – wondering if our own children will grow up to follow Christ in this chaotic world, if our ministry is having any eternal impact, and if we can still run the race with perseverance when we are just so tired.
The demands are heavy. We can’t help but being weighed down. Yet instead of resting, some of us have some type of internal hard drive that says, “Do more.” A longer to-do list assails us, to no avail. We just can’t keep up, no matter how hard we try.
Should we really be doing more? Or would doing less be more effective?
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Psalm 23 reiterates this promised rest in verses 2-3, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul…”
Sometimes, God has made me lie down, like in bed with a fever. Yuck. Juggling too many demands takes a toll on our health, among other things. It’s much preferable if we choose to lie down before the thermometer makes its appearance!
5 Ways To Do Less
1. Protect your quiet time: Do everything you can to spend time with Jesus, unhindered by pressures, noises, and distractions. It’s the simplest of all principles and sometimes the easiest thing to lose in chaos. Consider Jesus’ words in John 15:5 when He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
2. Invest in Selah time: Scholars say that the word “Selah” means to pause and to reflect on what you just heard. It’s used all over the Psalms, usually in the side margin, in italics. “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble…Selah” (Psalm 46:1)
Selah gives emphasis to the Word of God. Since God sustains all things by His powerful word, He can certainly sustain us if we are seeking Him. Instead of running to the first item on your to-do list, spend Selah time to weigh, measure, and evaluate what God is teaching you.
3. Keep the Sabbath: Since many of us work on Sundays in ministry, it can feel like we never get a break. Do what you can to keep this day holy and rest (or take a different Sabbath day). Whatever you do, realize that God wants you to kick up your feet. Add football, family, food and fellowship to the mix and you’ve got a sweet Sabbath day. (Oh, and don’t forget the nap!) You’re not being lazy, you’re following the commands of scripture. It’s okay.
4. Consider a spiritual retreat: Once a year, when I was teaching at an International School, we were given a day to take as our “Spiritual Day.” It was a day marked aside for rest, solitude, scripture, worship, a journal, and for me especially– a cup of coffee and the outdoors. That one day alone rejuvenated and refreshed me for months! I still remember how God spoke to me through His word in such vivid ways during our times together.
5. Unplug from technology: TV commercials insidiously tell us that what we have is not good enough. They drive us to want more and do more to get it, yet contentment evades us. Emails, blogs, Twitter updates, and Facebook are great social networking tools to stay connected to friends and family, but they can cause us to lose our connection with God if our lives are not grounded in Him and kept in balance. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our ministry is to unplug and unwind.
How do you do deal with the external and internal demands of ministry?