How Ministry Leaders Can Find the Rest They Need

We spend so much time caring for other people as pastors, that it’s easy to forget that we need to rest as well. When we try to pour out of an empty cup for too long, we’ll find burnout. Truly, we cannot be the pastors God is calling us to be unless we are resting ourselves. 

The Bible says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

As pastors, we have to ask ourselves, “What is truly restful? What is filling my cup today?” Here are three things to think about when considering rest. 

  1. Find the things that give you rest. This will look different for everybody! It’s important to remember that if something is restful to one person, it might not be for another. Look at each cup that needs filled: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. How did God create you to rest? Maybe going for a run clears your mind and strengthens your body. Maybe sitting down and reading a chapter of a book uninterrupted rejuvenates your spirit.  Take time to figure out for you, what areas of your life need rest. Ask the questions, “Where do I feel depleted?” “What makes me come alive?” If you need to do a little trial and error to figure out the kinds of activities that fill your cup, that’s okay too.

Watch this podcast from Pastor Craig Groeschel to learn more about how you gain energy and rest.

  1. Make a plan. In order to make strides in resting, you need to have a plan in place. Rest doesn’t just have to happen on vacation or on the weekends, it can happen in little moments every day. When are you going to read your Bible? When are you going to spend time reading, working out, or creating other habits of rest? Andy Stanley said, “Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose.” When you look at your habits of rest, where is your life headed? What structure or plan can you put into place now that will help you incorporate new habits of rest into your everyday life? 
  1. Spend time with God. This shouldn’t be a last resort but should be our first line of offense. As pastors, we are called to care for others. But how can we pour out of an empty cup? We know that the only place that we will find true rest and fulfillment is in Jesus, but how? True rest is not just about our physical, emotional and mental cups, but our spiritual heart as well. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” When we keep our eyes on Jesus, our hearts will truly be at rest. If you’re looking for a place to start, try this.

God promises His children a true, deep rest that the world can never give. He promises us peace for our souls and rest for our bodies. His presence fills us so that we can go out into the world and love others in the same way He loves us. When our cups are full, we’re able to pastor people out of the overflow of what Christ has given us. This is why learning to rest in any season is so important.

Jesus tells us to come to him, just as we are. We don’t have to be perfect, or feel like we have it all together. If you are tired, if you are worn out, if you feel burned out, let Jesus be your rest.You can start today, right now. It’s okay to take a moment and just hit pause.

Want more detailed information for how to find rest? Sign up for this special email workflow featuring content from Pastor Craig and the pastoral staff at Life.Church with tips for lasting in ministry.

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