3 Times You Should Be Resting

In my previous post, I cited the times in which it is ideal for us to be in a full sprint in our ministry efforts. It is clear that we can’t keep that pace all the time so it is also necessary to know when we should stop running and rest.


As a leader, you should never be afraid to take your foot off the gas. You can’t run your life and ministry in redline mode forever. Something or someone (likely you) will eventually shut down. Be in control of you own engine and follow the lead of your leader, Jesus. Steal away. Find solitude. Rest. Withdrawing from the crowd can be godly behaviour.
As a leader, you should never be afraid to take your foot off the gas. You can’t run your life and ministry in redline mode forever. Something or someone (likely you) will eventually shut down. Click To Tweet

Here are 3 keys to identifying a time to rest:

1) Rest when everyone else is resting.

If you are a preaching/teaching pastor you know that there will be Sundays when the weather is nice and you will preach to a few more empty seats than usual. Most of us can look at our calendars and know when those seasons of lower attendance will be. Plan your teaching calendar accordingly.

I typically spend 16-20 hours of my work week in study and sermon preparation. But I don’t do that every week. That’s a run. Those predictively low Sundays are logical dates for me to schedule an apprenticing leader to speak. Sometimes I will even use video teaching from another church.

I know what you are thinking. “My people would have a cow if I played a video sermon!”

Maybe. Maybe not. A lot of them won’t even be in attendance on the Sunday you do it. And if you pick someone who is a better preacher than you, the ones who are there might even find it refreshing.

I am not too proud to have Andy Stanley or Craig Groeschel make an appearance at my church.

I use the occasional video teaching to introduce my church family to someone whose preaching I benefit from or to another pastor in our fellowship of churches. Many people have told me that they will pursue more teaching from those pastors after they have watched the video. That’s a win! They are getting more Bible teaching between Sundays!

2) Rest when everyone else is working.

If your schedule is anything like mine, you will schedule frequent meetings in evenings and on weekends. Many of your volunteer leaders have full time jobs. If you do counseling or other types of meetings, you schedule those sessions around other people’s work schedules.

On the day that I am writing this post, I had meetings scheduled for the afternoon and the evening. I made the decision to stay at home and relax until late morning. Instead of stretching my day out to 12 hours, I shortened it to 9 by using the morning for myself.

3) Rest when you know that you will need to run.

Again, predictive scheduling is key to applying this principle. You know you will be running at Christmas. You will be running at Easter. Have you got a few weddings to do in the summer? Before you press into those seasons or projects that will demand more of your time and energy make sure to take a break and rest before you start pedalling.

Most pastors take Mondays off to recover from Sunday. For more than 10 years, I have worked on Mondays and taken Fridays as my weekday off. For starters, I tend to collect things to do on Sundays. Being able to organize those to-dos on Monday, or even knock some of them off the list, allows me to control my sermon prep days better.

Taking Friday off as an extra day of rest before Sunday means that I will be able to run harder on Sunday. And then I can carry that momentum into Monday.

As leaders, when we are better able to find rhythm in our schedules we will be more productive when we need to be and accomplish more when we are pushing ourselves forward.

Our organizations will benefit from our productivity. Those we lead will be rewarded with a leader who has more bandwidth to invest in them.

What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions or tips?

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