I heard it from another pastor today: “I’m just tired.” Shepherding a congregation can be wearisome in general, but it’s all magnified and multiplied in these COVID days. Everything seems to be changing, and nothing seems to be easy. If you’re a weary pastor or church leader today, here are some ways to find renewal:
- Enlist prayer partners to pray for you and your family. That might seem to be simply a spiritualized suggestion, but there’s something encouraging when you know for certain that others are praying for you. If you already have this prayer team, make sure they know about your weariness.
- Take a day off. I’ve seen many pastors work non-stop these days. I understand why they’ve done so, but I suspect their churches want them to take care of themselves physically and spiritually. Even if all you do is rest at home on a day off, take the time.
- Read a good, fun book. Too many of us read only for our professional roles, and we don’t allow ourselves time to read something just for the fun of it. I’ve learned that I can relax better when I’m reading something about sports, hiking, or traveling—things I don’t typically read in my daily roles.
- Take a walk. It’s good exercise. It requires you to slow down. Even from a social distance, you might meet some neighbors. And, if you simply must work, you can use the time to prayerwalk.
- Delegate at least one task. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some task he or she might give to someone else. Determine what options you have, and trust someone else to take on something. You might find that others are just grateful for the opportunity to assist you.
- Share your preaching or teaching responsibilities for a week. I realize that might mean asking someone to preach multiple services due to COVID, but surely someone you trust would be willing to help you. You’ll be more refreshed for the next Sunday.
- Take a silence and solitude retreat. Take at least three hours, and find a quiet place to spend time with the Lord. You might have to work hard to find that place these days, but it will be worth the effort. Jesus Himself pushed away from the busyness of ministry to spend time with the Father (Luke 5:15-16).
- Talk to somebody if your weariness is becoming overwhelming. Nobody will be surprised by your fatigue, and others will be ready to help you. Don’t let your fatigue lead to bad choices.
I prayed for you this morning, weary pastors and church leaders. God bless you!
Written by Chuck Lawless. Chuck is Dean of Doctoral Studies and Vice-President of Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, where he also serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions. In addition, he is Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. To find out more, have a look at his site!
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