If there's one issue that all pastors must wrestle with, beyond how the Gospel applies to their own lives and ministry, it's the issue of rest and Sabbath.

Wait—scratch that. Those are actually the same issue.

There was a time a few years back when I was working in a support staff role doing media design for a local church. It also happened to be the first year of my marriage, and as far as first-year-of-marriage jobs go, I couldn't have asked for a better one. I came in the morning, did my work, went home and didn't think about it again until the next day. The computers I worked on were there at the church office—I couldn't take work home with me, and I was very, very okay with that. When I was off, I was off.

Fast forward a couple of years and to when we planted a church. Suddenly, that's all I could think about. Early morning, late night—I was working on the website, writing posts on our forum, answering emails. I was always on.

What was the difference? I was working at a church in both situations. Both were "ministry." The difference was that one was a job, and the other was my identity.

Many of us view ministry as a calling, and we purposefully push back against the idea that ministry is a job or a profession. Usually that thinking is helpful. But the unintended side-effect has been that the natural boundaries that usually come with a job simply aren't present, or present enough, in our ministries—often to our own detriment and the detriment of our families.

Like I said, for the last few years of church planting and pastoring, I've been "always on," answering the phone when it rang, working on sermons on my weekends, packing my schedule with ministry meetings and events, and just generally being a pastor all the time. ...

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Burnout  |  Calling  |  Dependence on God  |  Renewal  |  Rest  |  Self-examination
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