Friday, November 18, 2011

Perspectives from the Field: How to Keep Going in Ministry

I’ll never forget my first youth ministry conference. It was a huge event. I had the cool bag and order of the week. I arrived early, scouted out the place, then sat down to circle all the workshops I would attend. It was going to be packed with learning. I was excited. At the same time, however, I was tired. It was nice though, to focus on ministry by learning instead of teaching, leading, and training. I tried to convince myself that changing my focus was rejuvenating.

Opening worship began. The band played, we worshiped. The event’s organizer came forth to speak. He welcomed us and shared his vision about the week. He said, I want this event to be just what you need. So if you need to learn, go to workshops. If you need to socialize with others in youth ministry, skip the workshops and talk in the living rooms set up around the center.  Then he said it.  If you need to rest, take this time to sleep, pray, and reconnect with God. I was shocked.

It’s true; I needed rest – even if I had to pay for it!

It seems and feels counter-intuitive, however, in order to persevere in ministry I find that rest is the best. It’s finding time for Sabbath – to be and not do. We are human beings after all not human doings. Each week I have a day of being. When I wake up, I ask God, what do you want to do today? Sometimes I go to the park or listen to music. Other days I stay in my pajamas and play with my dog. I don’t plan ministry. I don’t read the book I’ve been waiting to crack open. I celebrate the God in me.

I’m not sure when you feel there is a lull in your ministry… I rarely felt that I experienced that. We were always on the go. Here’s what I am learning. To keep up a pace of ministry, I need to rest and receive God’s spirit into my life again and again. Jesus invites us to come to him…all of us who are weary and heavy laden and He will give us rest.

I challenge you, if you cannot find time to rest, I ask to whom does your ministry belong? In our might we will exhaust.  Only through Christ and his power can we lead and care for God’s families in our churches.

May you find rest on the journey!

by Charity Goodwin-Rosario
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

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