One of the most difficult tasks for any of us is having a plan and sticking with it. Distractions abound in our family and church lives, not to mention the ever-changing world. So how do we prioritize, manage and be intentional with what comes across our desks as well as how we interact with each other? Intentional leadership starts with self-care. But, when you’re constantly serving and thinking about others, self-care can often be found out of our plain sight chair in the corner and under a few magazines. While it seems basic and something that we all know should have a place of importance, it still seems selfish or self-promoting when in fact the opposite is true.
In an occupation that is truly about others, remember to take time for and prioritize personal and spiritual care so that you can lead by example- which is an excellent way to show your congregation and parishioners that you are passionate about your ministry and the programs within your ministry, and even best demonstrate How to Motivate Volunteers at Church. But, before you can begin to scratch the surface of your job description to healthily grow your church, make sure operations are moving smoothly, hire the right staff, show staff how much you value them, and maximize your resources, it’s incredibly important that your personal routine reflects consistent intentions.
Self-care stewardship 101 begins here:
- Spend quality time in the Word. It’s easy to be distracted from this- you work in a church, after all, and are in meetings praying, discussing mission strategies and are often asked to pray for others. Fuel your own tank and be still to hear His voice.
- Exercise. If you’re a runner, create the time to hit the pavement or treadmill as it satisfies your mind and body. The benefit of exercise and release of endorphins has to make for a good mood and better sleep- both of which are essential to your work production.
- Make sure you’re present with your family- spouse, siblings, cousins- whomever makes up your family- and spending quality time with them. Family time is more than dropping off children at school on your way to the church office. Be intentional while driving them to school- turn off the radio and turn up your conversation. Maximize that time and look them in the eyes as much as possible. Let them know of your sincere desire to connect with them.
- Accountability matters. Since accountability is the key component that differentiates learning from discipleship as shared in Cultivating Accountability in any Setting, having a trusted friend to talk and walk things through on a regular basis makes a difference. We know that iron sharpens iron; but really grasping that concept and living through it changes a person.
- And, intentionally rest. Take vacation or staycation, just any sort of change of pace that helps you relax so that you have a fresh perspective for your needed next steps. We all need to focus on who is important in our lives and why, including ourselves.
Focus on the Family shared this in their blog, Self-Care for the Weary Pastors, “Jesus Himself knew that self-care is an issue of the greatest importance. That’s why He regularly took time out to refill His pitcher with Living Water. You need to do the same. Believe it or not, there are a lot of pastors and dedicated Christ-followers who don’t take their Lord’s example very seriously. Some actually believe that self-care has no place in the Christian life. Self-care, in their view, is simply “selfish.” These folks have forgotten that Jesus summed up the law in the words. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18). If you don’t love yourself, you have no way of gauging the meaning of love for others.”
Here’s to embracing the importance of filling up our vessels so we may genuinely and faithfully pour into others in order to properly address, reassure and support the lingering question in many minds, Post-Pandemic: Is it safe to go to church? Thanks be to God, the church is open and the community is welcome, so let us be prepared from the inside out to minister.
We hope these blogs geared for Pastors encourage your entire Pastoral team. Whether you’re a Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, Youth Pastor, Teaching or Interim Pastor, we want to help you lead with best practices that are known and have proven beneficial for thousands of churches nationwide. Reminder, don’t miss any of our other Church Growth Resources that may help you, and you can easily receive our ministry blog posts straight to your inbox!
As the Vice President of Marketing for ACS Technologies’, John is responsible for Marketing’s overall corporate strategy and direction. Storyteller, promoter, problem solver to churches of all sizes and shapes. John has traveled the world working with prominent non-profit ministries. He also serves on the board of directors for Dayspring.