Tag Archive: sabbath


Sanctuary on a Sunday

The ebbs and flows of life require a place for sanctuary. Many times, I’ve found that to be the Sunday church service. For a few moments, I lay aside all the pressures and obligations of life to rest in God’s presence. (These are Sundays when I have no other obligations to fulfill during the service.)

There are lots of times when churches ask their members to “step up” and serve, including the Sunday service. At times, it seems the volunteer pool is stretched and we still need more resources. I do believe that all members of the church should do their share in contributing to the ministries of the church. That being said, if we are taxing beyond the capacities of the church members, then we need to re-evaluate what it is we’re doing exactly. Are we to continue our current trajectory if it means running our members to the ground. Many times, I’ve found that to be a sign that the church needs to re-evaluate its structure and discern whether there is a different method (or direction) from God.

No one is meant to go full-speed without any rest. Perhaps some are able to sustain that pace better than others. But it’s not God’s desire to physically and emotionally drain a person to do “his ministry”. Every person needs a place of sanctuary. For many, the Sunday morning service is that space and time to rest in the presence of God in community. As church leaders, we need to make space for those moments. For those who regularly serve during that service (like the pastor or music director), then we need to ensure they are finding another place for sanctuary.

Where do you find your place of sanctuary?

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The other day, God struck me with something that was nagging within me. As I prayed, I came to the realization that who I seemed to be inside wasn’t matching what I was either presenting or how others were perceiving me. There was a dissonance that shouldn’t there. Really, my attitude wasn’t in line with God’s and at times I seemed more about putting on a good front vs being integral ie being my whole self.

I needed an attitude recalibration. I needed to take time to have God bring to mind all those sins that were really entrenched within me that needed to be exposed before God. It was a time to repent and allow God to readjust me (like a chiropractor). When he did, it felt like a fresh start.

Every so often, we all need a recalibration. (hmmm, sounds familiar … I think some people call that Sabbath)

80% Pastoral Capacity

You’ve probably heard, in financial terms, of building a savings for a “rainy day”.  Some experts suggest saving up to 3 months wages in case something happens.  Maybe putting aside 10% of one’s paycheque to make this happen.

The other day, I joined a ministerial group that was discussing “The Suffering Christ”, more specifically how to minister to those suffering in our churches, or when pastors are suffering themselves.  In our small group, comments were made that sometimes, we as pastors don’t find out the sufferings of our congregants partially because they’re not sure how we’ll react, partially because really, we have no time for them.  We have no time to walk with them in their journey.  No time to hear their story.  In fact, if we were honest, we admitted to each other that we feel we wouldn’t have the energy to handle major suffering anyway, unless it really had to be dealt with.  Really, with overworked and overloaded schedules, dealing with suffering is really emotionally taxing.

Then I started thinking: all the things that’s on a pastor’s to-do list, are they really necessary?  Some of it is necessary, but some of it really isn’t that important in the eternal sense.  Some of it we take on ourselves.  Some of it is because we have this sense that if we’re not always busy, we’re not doing “what we’re paid to do” and be as productive as possible.

Yet I wonder, knowing that suffering and other “interruptions” happen in life, what would happen if we made “reservations” in being prepared for handling those moments?  Like a savings account, what if we allowed ourselves to not work at maximum capacity all the time, but to be in a routine at (as an arbitrary number) 80% of the time.  To prioritize what really is God’s calling and what is really man’s calling.  To live the life that God intended, and to actually fully our pastoral calling by pastoring (not just managing or directing or coordinating) those God has entrusted to us.  To work at 80% capacity allows for us to use our “reserves” in handling suffering in a way that does not overtax us but actually allows to give our best in that moment.

I realize that there are some who say that “we need to trust God to give us strength” and other sentiments as such.  But I don’t believe God ever called us into vocational ministry to drain us and then throw us aside.  The principles of Sabbath are just as vital to pastors as they are to all people.

What would it look like if pastors would work at 80% capacity?  Perhaps then, we could actually do “what we’re paid to do” … care for those God has entrusted to us.

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