5 Things I Did to Get a Sabbath
Take A Sabbath? I Can’t!
I’ve heard this said too many times recently in many kidmin forums and Facebook groups. It breaks my heart to hear so many of my peers wrestling with whether or not they can or even should, take a Sabbath. Many feel there’s no time and it’s an even more real struggle for those who are bi-vocational or part-time leaders.
I’ve Been There…
I will admit that I have said, “I can’t take a break, a Sabbath or attend worship services.” I understand the struggle and it is very real and far too common. So what is a leader to do when they serve in a smaller church, (or the other scenarios) and feel like they cannot attend worship service or take a Sabbath or a day off?
Before I take you to a couple of ideas, let me first speak from my heart as a leader who’s been in ministry for 30+ years and has said, “I can’t _______” Let me say in love as gently as I can, “MAKE TIME!”
Was that gentle and clear enough?
I bought into the belief that if I didn’t do something or if this project didn’t get done, no one would do it. I believed that I just didn’t have time to take a break because I needed that time to finish everything for Sunday. I believed that I must be the one who does it all and I’ll rest when I’m dead, or that when God brought me a team, I’d delegate and then take a break.
Many of these things were really lies of the enemy that gave him a stronghold in my life. This cost me in so many ways. I’d go to conferences and hear people say, ”you must delegate, delegate, delegate” and I’d sit back and say, “Yeah, Right! Delegate to WHO?” My church is small and I have to literally calf rope people into serving. Now you’re telling me I need to delegate and then I can rest or even better, develop leaders?
I would often leave angry and feeling like I’d never catch a break or any help. I’d even dream of leaving to another ministry that is bigger so that I’d have a better pool of volunteers and then I’d delegate and take a Sabbath. But I can say, I’ve moved to bigger churches and the issues are just the same.
So WHAT does a Kidmin leader do to get a Sabbath when you don’t have 2 extra volunteers to delegate to or you work 40+ hours a week and then prep for Sunday ministries?
For me, I had to stop everything and evaluate.
5 Things I Did To Get A Sabbath
1)Begin with a real attitude of prayer and seek God. No, I’m serious. It took me getting serious about my prayer life to see God’s heart for me and the ministry he’d entrusted.
2) Realize God cares more about who you are than what you DO! (Tweet that if ya like). He really does. In the end when we stand before the Lord, it’s not what we did for him that matters it’s what we did WITH him that will. What did you do with your relationship with Christ? Do you really think Jesus wants you to burn up or out for his sake? I don’t think so!
3) Get up early one morning (or stay up later, whichever works) and take a look at what you’re doing. Write them all down on paper. List your key responsibilities. Then take a look at the list. What gives you life or energizes you? Put a plus sign (+) by it. What drains you or what do you dread doing? Put a minus ( — ) sign by it. Begin to pray through the list and think about who is gifted in the areas you are not as gifted. Next, put names by the list and set up a time to ask them to step in to a roll to assist you.
4) What are you spending most of your time on? Have you ever tried a time study? I’d suggest for one week you track on paper, or electronically, how you spend your time. I did one on myself and found I was spending too much time online with social media stuff that I thought was “important.” I began to take the time I spent online and used that for my worship=Sabbath. It was amazing the difference it made.
5) Talk to your senior leader about all you are doing by using the time study and ask them to evaluate with you about what you must keep doing and what either needs giving away or just stopped altogether. A great filter is to use your churches mission and vision to evaluate where best to use your time. I have found we do things out of fear and they don’t actually fit with the overall mission and vision. I bet you’d be surprised that if you stopped doing something, some people may not even notice and yet, we thought it was super important and we had to keep doing it.
What does my Sabbath look like?
My Sabbath begins with music, scripture, and sometimes a nap. Yes, a nap! (Don’t judge me and don’t judge yourself either.) I began to use this to rest and I didn’t feel guilty about it. Why? Because I realized, Jesus himself made time to rest and renew himself. If the Son of God needed rest and renewal and made time to do it, I MUST make it a priority too.
Whether you have advice to give in this area or you need help from someone who’s been there, you can connect with me and other Children’s Ministry Leaders in the Ministry Accelerator community on Slack. Please join me, it’s free and easy. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and type, “I want to join the community” in the subject line. You can also DM me on twitter @ptbump
What tips would you add? What do you get this right? Let’s interact here or on Slack.