Seasonal changes that happen in Oklahoma often come with dramatic events and challenging effects. The changing seasons bring storms, drastic temperature variations, and heightened allergy symptoms.
In addition to the changes in the environmental seasons we face, we, as ministers of the gospel, face different seasons. Sometimes a new season brings great success, and at other times, the difficulty is pervasive.
As ministers, we are not immune to the effects of the changing seasons that we go through; we have the responsibility to be a good steward of the God-given life we have been entrusted with. How do pastors stay spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy during the challenging seasons we face?
Know your source
Before we were called into the ministry, we were a child of God. The foundational element of our lives must be maintaining our walk with the Lord. Positions, people, and places are always in transition, but your relationship with God must be the stabilizing key to staying healthy. We will never find ourselves lacking when we let God be our primary source of renewal, strength, and wisdom.
We are created for a community in which we share our burdens. Through this, we not only have the opportunity to intercede for one another but feel supported and loved. As you intentionally strengthen and build healthy relationships with family and friends, you will find people willing to help. Do not do ministry in isolation. Eventually, the cost becomes too great, and burnout is inevitable.
Learn to say no
One of the challenges of ministry is that we are often pulled in many different directions in our daily life. Not only do we feel the weight of our primary responsibilities, but we feel the pressure placed on us to do and be everything that is expected of us. After all, we should be ready to preach, pray, respond, reach out, connect, and die. Yet, we must be willing to say no to things that are not necessarily the most important to our ministry work. Sacrifice the good things but are a distraction from the things that we are called to do!
Fight the temptation to compare
My grandfather would say, “be faithful to work your comer of the vineyard that God has given to you.” This was a reminder that God is the one who not only owns the entire vineyard but has also entrusted to me a portion to be a good steward of. It also reminded me that if we are busy working in our area, we will not have the time to compare what others are responsible for. Additionally, I will not have time to boast about my portion’s size if I am focused on the harvest.
Take a sabbath rest
We have heard on many occasions that taking a day for rest is of utmost importance. Despite the frequent reminders, we often find ourselves constantly working without rest because of the pressures we put on ourselves as ministers. However, we must remember that the church is not ours and Jesus said that He would be an active agent in building the church. We must work hard but put as much effort into finding and guarding times of rest. The pattern that God established of working to rest and resting to work is healthy. While we rest, God is still working! Trust him!
Find a hobby and get active
It is interesting to note that our spirit, will, mind, emotions, and physical body are connected. When we are out of balance in one area, it will affect every other aspect of our lives. Finding a hobby and/or getting active is a great way to reset every aspect of our lives. Finding joy outside of the pressures of ministry is an important part of staying healthy in the ministry. Additionally, taking care of yourself will only enhance your effectiveness in ministry.
As ministers, we have been called to serve God and serve people he has entrusted to us. The pressures of the challenging seasons that we face can be overwhelming, but God has given us the tools to stay healthy through Him. When we strategically develop health through every aspect of our lives, we can face the challenging seasons with greater strength and effectiveness.
We are praying for each of you during the changing seasons in your ministry and life. May God give you the wisdom to stay healthy and face the challenges that come with strength and endurance. We believe that God is going to work through each of you powerfully. The Best Is Yet To Come!!
Originally published in the April 2021 edition of the Oklahoma District Outlook Magazine…