This blog was written by Angie Hooie, a member of the INCM Blog Team.
You’re only a week away from Christmas Eve and Day services, with events in between.
And the last thing you need is to feel overwhelmed. But, let’s face it, you probably are.
You’re might be stress-eating cookies in the break room and downing your 4th cup of coffee of the day to stay on top of the events that will welcome old and new kids to church for maybe the first time ever or in a long time.
Christmas services feel like the stakes are high!
And they are.
This could be an opportunity for a kid to meet Jesus for the very first time.
And you’re going to be tired after serving so many kids and families.
We want to remind you: once your services are over, and the lights are off, please rest.
Rest Is a Weapon
“Rest is a weapon!”
When I heard Beth Guckenberger say this, it shook me a little.
I grew up watching my mom go, go, go. She never sat down. Correction, she still never sits down.
I think society today as a whole applauds busyness.
Instead of a spiritual weapon, it’s seen as more of a badge of honor.
How many times a week do you hear parents and leaders say, “I am so busy!”
When was the last time you heard someone say, “I feel so rested”?
I’m guessing never.
However, rest is a weapon because the enemy wants nothing more than for us to be stressed, too busy, anxious, fearful, and overwhelmed.
When we rest, we are able to care well for ourselves and others.
We are able to have a longer perspective, live in the hope of Jesus, and make decisions that reflect the kingdom.
When we rest, we spend more time with the Father and hear his voice more clearly.
This is the greatest threat to the enemy.
He hates when we hear the Father’s voice and do what he says.
So when we’re overstressed and over-busy, we tend to take our eyes off Jesus.
And being busy leads to burnout!
As leaders, we don’t want to burn out; we want to be the kind of leaders that are in it for the long haul achieving the dreams that God has set in our hearts for the children and families we serve.
We are called to more than flame out in the middle of our mission.
Jesus has called us to rest.
Actually, he commanded us to rest when he said he fulfilled the law and the prophets including the 10 commandments.
Remember commandment number 4?
He set the example for us.
And, if Jesus rested, we should, no, we need to rest as well.
Taking a Sabbath
Let’s talk Sabbath rest.
When I first started in vocational ministry, I kept hearing about Sabbath and didn’t really understand it.
I read so many books on rest and Sabbath, knowing it was something that I needed to do.
I knew I needed to do it, but was I doing it? NO WAY!
I was too busy!
It wasn’t until I was forced to read “The Emotionally Healthy Leader” by Peter Scazzero that I understood the importance of the Sabbath.
In his book, Scazerro discussed Sabbath as a core spiritual formation discipline, as opposed to legalism.
Even more, Sabbath is God’s good gift to his people (Deuteronomy 5:12, 15).
Jesus said in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.”
The most freeing thing that I learned from reading about Sabbath in the book, is that my Sabbath doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s Sabbath.
The most important thing is to practice Sabbath.
Did you catch that word, practice?
You get to practice Sabbath.
Here are a few ways to give it a try.
- Try a few things to see what gives you rest and restoration.
- You may want to just lay in a hammock and read a book.
- You may be the type of person who wants to go for a drive in the mountains or go to the beach.
I would suggest to you, if starting out practicing a 24-hour Sabbath feels uncomfortable or impossible, start with a 12-hour, then grow your experience to a 24-hour Sabbath.
I love this quote from Charles Spurgeon, “Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”
Your Christmas To-Do List
During this Christmas break: rest.
Fight for time to take a break from your work and stop to rest.
Listen to Jesus say to you, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Listen to Jesus say to you, “Come to me all who are weak and weary, and I will give you rest.”
Listen to Jesus say to you, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
So practice rest this Christmas break.
Enjoy some slow time with your family, your friends, and Jesus.
Read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk.
Why Children’s Leaders Need to Rest
INCM reminds us, “Children’s Ministry is the most strategic and futuristic ministry of the church.”
And it needs healthy leaders like you.
You need to take care of yourself and lead like Jesus.
You need to rest.
You need to “walk so closely with our Rabbi, that you get His dust all over you.” (Shared by Kristi McLelland at CPC21 Online.)
You are not running this race alone.
Get healthy and stay healthy, so you can stay in the race.
We are cheering for you!
Angie has been married for over 20 years and has 3 grown kids. She has been volunteering in children’s ministry for over two decades and was called into vocational ministry over 10 years ago. At Two Rivers Church, she is the Kids Ministry Pastor where she oversees 3 campuses. She is an expert in kids ministry and has been deeply involved in expanding her church’s special needs ministry.