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Are You Stressed?

One of the challenges I have faced in ministry is the enduring battle with stress. Ever wonder why you see so many overweight pastors?
Depending on your church’s view of alcohol, the stigma of walking into a bar and drinking our worries away doesn’t go over so well with the deacons and elders (who might very well be partaking of a few themselves).
A pastor’s outlet is usually food, unless of course those rumors of the church secretary are true. We love our buffets, fried chicken, and “greasy spoons” around town.
Want to know the best places to eat at? Just ask your pastor.
While we should always “cast cares upon the Lord”, the application of such isn’t always there and we sure do pay a heavy price for it.
Stress has been tied to more than just gray hair. It can lead to a number of health problems like heart disease and cancer. In other words, we can’t carry it around with us for long!
If you’re not a pastor, church staff member, group leader, you may think “Well, what’s the big deal? I work in a high-demanding environment and I get overloaded too!” The thing is, church ministry is different by nature. For one thing, we’re always “on-call” and hardly ever able to stick to a regimented schedule.
However, I believe the bigger reason is that we invest our lives into other people. We’re there for some of their biggest moments in life, both wonderful and tragic. The word that describes this is “empathy”, which is similar to “sympathy”. The difference is that we feel the way the person feels as if we’re going through the experience with them.
Romans 12:15 says:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

Moments like weddings, child births, and baptisms are part of the benefits of being involved in ministry. Death, divorce, and suffering are the other times we often wish God could take back. It’s all part of the “job” we have been called to! We need to be the stable, encouraging, Spirit-led force that gives back life, which the world so often wants to drain and take away.
This is why I feel strongly about what ACS Technologies does. While most look to it as a computer software company, it is truly a source of ministry solutions that’s there to support the work that we do in our churches.
Tasks like managing a membership database or recording tithes and offerings shouldn’t rob us of our time and energy. Obviously, if we are consumed with day-to-day office work, our motivation to heal others of their pain leaves us because we’re in need of repair ourselves.
“Church software” is sometimes viewed as expensive, hard to learn, and therefore not worth looking into. The problem is, the ones that say this will stick with their old “tried-and-true” methods of old. The work gets done, but is completed inefficiently and ties them down to their office desk. There is a better way!
One of the best ministry solutions I know of is ACS OnDemand. You may have heard about it ad-nauseum, but there’s a good reason why… it works! You can access all of your church’s data on-the-go.
Ministry is tough, but we don’t have to make it any worse on ourselves! If you are indeed stressed out, look for the proper channels to relieve it. After making room in your schedule for devotions and prayer, ask yourself, “How can I better use the time that God has given me?”. The answers are probably closer than you realize.
And as my old pastor used to say, “Be blessed, not stressed!”

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