Over the past year I have been writing to encourage pastors who are tired, weary, frustrated, and discouraged. I write not as an authority figure, but as a fellow-journeyman. This is my first post after taking the summer to rest, reflect, and redirect.
If you have ever felt overwhelmed with the enormity of the pastoral task at hand, I understand. In the past I have written about life/work balance, and have even given suggestions on how to make it happen, but now I’m not sure it is possible.
For me, a better way to think of the busy pace of ministry life is with the metaphor of “seasons.” You and I are probably not going to perfectly balance life and ministry all of the time. Isn’t ministry our life anyways? Most pastors I know think about ministry 24/7. The idea of “seasons” has helped me and my family understand there are times when I will be extra busy to complete a ministry project, and other times where I will pull back to focus on family.
Take this past summer for example. By late Spring, I was feeling weary with too many demands and an extremely busy schedule. Thankfully, I recognized it was time to pull back. I’ve always been a little jealous of pastors who were able to take a sabbatical. In my 23 years of pastoral ministry, I’ve never served at a church that could financially afford this option.
However, I decided I could take my own, self-imposed, “mini-sabbatical.” Here is what I decided for the summer months.
Reading through this list it may seem like I worked very little. The truth is, I still worked 40 hours a week. I just cut back on other things to take care of myself and family.
The Fall season is now here and I’m finding myself really busy again. Here are a few things I’m realizing…
1. If I am not healthy spiritually, nothing in my life will be healthy. Spending significant amounts of time with Jesus is the most important thing I can do.
2. Time is going by so fast. The time I have with my children I cannot get back. I am determined to not be too busy to spend time with them.
3. The love and respect of my wife and children mean more to me than the thoughts and opinions of my peers, or congregation.
4. Ongoing leadership development must be one of my top three priorities as a pastor. If I don’t put this on my calendar, it won’t get done.
5. Churches go through seasons too. I must love well and lead well in all seasons. As a pastor I wish it was all growth all the time, but it is not.
6. Jesus must be my first love. Too often I have lived as though the church meant the most to me.
Thanks for reading my thoughts. I hope it has helped you in some way. I will be getting back to a weekly writing schedule. Thank you for being a part of this community of pastors!
Question: What are you learning in this season of life and ministry? Please comment below.
Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past