Several years ago I was on the edge of serious burnout. Compass Point was in the midst of numerical growth, had recently seen many people baptized and was gearing up for a HUGE Easter Sunday. The problem…I was burning the candles at both ends…getting very little rest…had not taken a day off in ages…preached EVERY Sunday of the year…and was preparing to resign after the Easter push. Then Perry Noble sent me Wayne Cordeiro’s book “Leading In Empty“. From the moment I started reading the book I realized that rest was something that leadership demanded…not suggested.
Burnout is a definite…not a possibility…if a leader never takes a break. I’m not talking about two weeks a year on vacation…I’m talking about a weekly break. As church leaders we are called to the long term…to a marathon…not a sprint. It requires us to pace ourselves…maintain gas in the tank for the long run…to recharge our batteries…and make sure our family comes before ministry (more on that in the weeks to come). These days Compass Point is closed on Fridays and Saturdays. I want our staff and myself to have a Sabbath…to have a two day weekend to rest and be ready for Sunday. Fridays are a total “down” day for me. I do nothing in conjunction with ministry. I don’t read leadership or theology books. I don’t check email or prep my sermon. I don’t blog (this post was written weeks ago – more on that next week) or take ministry calls. I don’t schedule meetings or plan for the future. I simply rest…read a fun book (normally biographies or travel books)…putter around the yard…go fishing……catch up with the TV shows I recorded on DVR…sleep…etc. Saturdays are family days where I spend it with Denise or my folks. At 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays everything shuts down for me to take a final look at my sermon notes…and then to bed early so I can be rested for preaching.
By the way…there are bi-vocational pastors reading this saying, “Yeah but I have to work two jobs”…how can I get rest time?” Hang on…I’ve got a post for you next week. 🙂