Why is rest important for physical competition? According to one research study, a recovery period enables your body “to adapt to the stress associated with exercise, replenishes muscle glycogen (energy stores) and provides time for the body tissue to repair.” Rest isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it gives you time to become stronger.
The apostle Paul compared ministry to athletic training on more than one occasion (1 Cor. 9:25-26, 1 Tim. 4:7-8, and 2 Tim. 2:5). Like athletes, those engaged in gospel ministry need time to unplug from the stress of their calling and replenish the resources they need for the road ahead. When we refuse to rest, we defy God’s design for us and set ourselves up for failure.
Rest is built into God’s design for the world. We were not created for ceaseless work. It’s important to acknowledge our finiteness. Christ will build his church and even your vacation will not impede his progress!
It is difficult to find time and space to disconnect from the demands of vocational ministry. There’s always another member who needs to be visited, another person who needs prayer, another staff member who needs encouragement, and the list goes on. We defer rest, thinking of it as expendable. Instead, we need to think of rest as essential to our ability to serve others well.
At Geneva Benefits Group, we want to see those who serve the church flourish in their roles for years to come. Rest is a key component of ministerial resilience. Beyond a weekly day of rest, a season of rest can be an effective way to replenish the resources needed for pastoral ministry. A sabbatical is a period of time when we can temporarily set aside our duties in order to return to them a stronger person.
We’ve created a resource to help church leaders design and implement sabbaticals for their staff. Every sabbatical will look different but there are some best practices to consider. You can download our sabbatical checklist filled with important considerations for those taking a sabbatical. Our hope is that sabbaticals become a period of renewal that create more resilient ministers.
Geneva Benefits Group serves those who serve others, providing practical support for the financial, physical, and mental wellbeing of people who work in full-time ministry.