It is no secret, and likely no surprise that we live in a divided, lose-lose culture. Regardless of where you live or the type of church you pastor, many individuals come to the table with steadfast, unbreakable convictions. And the fact is that, right or wrong in the eyes of God, you come to that same table with your own set of convictions. Frankly, it’s exhausting! So how do you find rest in such divisive times? We hope to help with that.
Living and leading from a healthy soul has never been more vital. Soul-Care is about living in the overflow of the heart. This type of care includes learning to stop and actively listen and be listened to in a conversation, taking the time to read, to rest, and to open up to God’s presence, guidance, and love. Soul-Care can take on many forms like prayer and meditation, but you have to find out what works for you, what nourishes and restores your soul. Some examples include:
- Meeting one-on-one with a mentor or a person who is disciplining you
- Getting away for a retreat either by yourself, with your spouse, or with a small group of leaders you trust
- Living in community (check in on others and allow others to check in on you.)
- Setting healthy boundaries in your life
- Prayer and meditation
- Get out into nature, play, and breathe
Our soul is like an inner stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other element of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and his Kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. -Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart
Finding time to rest in the day-to-day, fast-paced culture in which we live is difficult at times. Setting boundaries, which is a part of soul-care, will drastically change things in your life and ministry. Pick a time that works best for you to unplug from all electronic devices. Stop answering emails, don’t worry about commenting on someone’s social media feed, and let the phone go to voicemail (actually power down your devices). Then go somewhere to be alone with God allowing Him to renew your strength.
Another way to find rest daily is to take extended times away from social media. If you look at your phone right now, you can find out how much time daily you are using social media. Create a timeframe in which you will fast that amount of time each day spend that time with the Holy Spirit.
You are never going to make everyone happy. Again, each individual comes to the table with various firmly held convictions. Maybe the Holy Spirit has spoken to you saying it’s too early to go back to the physical church building for Sunday worship, but half of your congregation is fed up with online services. Perhaps the opposite is true. Expect that people are going to disagree with you no matter what you decided. That makes it much easier to please the One who matters most.
Now, I’m not trying to make light of these crucial decisions, but what I know to be true is that trying to please everyone and meet all of their expectations leads to frustration. Frustration leads to fatigue. Fatigue leads to burnout. Remember that this is a season in church ministry where we must learn to “Pivot. Innovate.”
The Future Church
Finally, we must understand that the church of the future will require a different you. Know that you will stretch to the limits, but also remember God is walking with you every step of the way. In taking the time to rest and listen to the voice of the Spirit, I encourage you to revisit church and how it needs to morph. The Church will only grow and morph at the rate you do the same.
At Healthy Growing Churches, we are here for you! Please let us know how we can help you on this unexpected journey.