Timing is everything.
In the Luke 14 Parable of the Great Banquet, when the Master called, “Come, for everything is now ready!” the invited guests all had excuses.
The call to ministry is sort of like that. God creates opportunities for mission. He calls his servants to respond.
A church worker’s preventive self-care is not selfish.
It’s tending to your response-ability.
How available are you?
Someone once defined a minister as a “quivering mass of availability.”
I expect I needn’t explain.
What I would like to do is help you minimize the “quivering” and maximize the “availability.”
Good boundaries are an important part of self-care, but we never know when ministry opportunities will arise. “Come, for everything is now ready!” There are those times when the Lord calls, when the Church calls, or even when our own family calls, and we serve best when we’re at our best.
In emergencies, no one lying in the hospital bed wants to hear the pastor say, “You think YOU have it bad!” Taking care of yourself is not just for you.
It’s for the sake of the mission.
And in the weekly schedule, well prepared, well rested preachers and teachers honor God and serve their flocks and communities better.
Ministry is a marathon. Pace yourself.
Your own fortification in Word and Sacrament is certainly for your own benefit, but also preparation for warfare. Time set aside for worship and devotion is not being selfish. It’s a mission priority.
Investment in your family life is like making deposits in the bank. When ministry calls, you make withdrawals, but strong family bonds accompany us in ministry. “It’s okay. Go! We know your heart is with your own family first.”
When we take time to grieve the many losses we experience, we’re better prepared to minister those who are grieving. Time spent in silence prepares us for times called to speak. Time alone prepares us for the call to serve the crowd.
Sound financial planning eliminates distractions. Physical fitness is an important part of our response-ability.
Self-care is not selfish. It’s preparation for ministry.
One more thing.
“Who wants to be me?”
I think it’s an important question for ministers to keep in mind. When young people are considering the call into ministry, the lifestyle we model speaks volumes.
The way we present in our words, actions and demeanor the joy of ministry is a huge influence on their willingness to follow. They’re asking, “Is that who I want to be when I grow up?”
When we’re asking, “Who wants to be me?” and when we’re making healthy choices that present how great a life in ministry can be, we’re doing the most important work of church worker recruitment that we can do.
That’s mission focused self-care.
Thanks for reading.
Be sure to get your copy of “Reclaiming the Joy of Ministry: The Grace Place Way to Church Worker Wellness” available at www.graceplacewellness.org