You jumped through all the hoops, or God dropped this kid’s ministry opportunity in your lap. You may be unpaid, or make good money like a schoolteacher. No matter how your ministry life starts, it is guaranteed to be “full speed ahead” and your life now can be defined in one word: BUSY. At first the busyness is fun and joyful. Then it fast-forwards to month fifteen of not more than a half-hour here or there to stop and take a shower. Your answer to: “How are you doing in ministry?” is redefined to a new word: “Tired.” How do you fight to keep serving in ministry in a joyful, spiritually healthy way and still successfully lead the Next Generation to Christ?
Eugene Peterson suggests a great meditative practice where he uses Psalm 46:10 and subtracts one word at a time to help him come to rest:
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I.
Be still and know that.
Be still and know.
Be still and.
In ministry, how often do we just “Be”? The reason we are so passionate to serve with kids is because we desire what God desires and that is for all to “Be” with Him forever in eternity. How can we structure our time and life in ministry so that we have time to be with God and to stop and listen to what He has for our personal lives and our lives in ministry? The key comes directly from God’s word to us straight from Exodus 20:8: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
Keeping a Sabbath
“But wait!” we all think. “I work EVERY Sunday and Holiday. Yes, even the holidays when Target is closed – Christmas and Easter. There is no way I can begin to think about having a Sabbath, a time of rest in Ministry!”
Kevin De Young, in his book Crazy Busy, reminds readers that as believers we are to be living lives that are marked by joy (Philippians 4:4), taste like joy (Galatians 5:22), and are filled with the fullness of joy (John 15:11). Busyness attacks all of that. When our lives and ministry are frantic and frenzied, we are more prone to anxiety, resentment, impatience, and irritability.
Here are a few key components to consider when thinking about ministry from a 24/6 mentality.
- First, look at your weekly calendar. What day has fewer requirements than the others? For example, if on Sunday you have church, Monday is the big “all staff” planning day, and Wednesday is Kids Choir that leaves Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to make your Sabbath of rest.
- Don’t make it easy to “skip” your day off – Make (social, non-ministry related) lunch plans with your neighbor. Don’t set up child care for your little one for that day. Make sure everyone knows about your day off. Schedule for one of the church interns to use your office space so it is not available.
- Don’t be afraid to remind fellow staff when they schedule meetings that you are not able to attend on that day. The nature of ministry is one that unless we fight for our Sabbath, it will not happen. God’s Word commands us to have a 24/6 mentality of our lives and ministry. It is so great and important that even God Himself rested once a week!
Living it out
Here are a few heart questions to ask as yourself as you consider changing your mindset to that of ministry 24/6:
- Do you regularly work thirty minutes a day longer than your contracted [agreed upon] hours?
- Do you check church emails and phone messages outside of those hours?
- Has anyone said to you, “I don’t want to trouble you because I know how busy you are”?
Take cues from your answers.
Everyone is busy. Families are busy. Those in church work are busy. The enemy knows that if he can get us all busy, then he has a shot of causing trouble.
Take a rest, friend. God wants you to.
Stephanie Jackson serves as the director of Children’s Ministries at North Wake Church (since 2003), Located in Wake Forest, NC. She enjoys partnering with parents of children ages birth to 5th grade in teaching kids about Jesus.
Anne Marie is a Bible Teacher and Bible curriculum writer with more than 25 years of experience. She has created Bible lessons and taught children about Jesus at churches, camps, Christian Schools, and conferences. She is the owner of FutureFlyingSaucers Resources where she helps busy parents and church leaders teach fun, flexible, multi-age, budget-friendly bible object lessons that enhance the spiritual growth of children. She lives with her husband and three children in South Carolina.