The seminar was led by Helen Godwin and myself – you can download the powerpoint here.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Jesus calls/commands us to live freely and lightly and yet many of us don’t. It can feel impossible, but Jesus asked us to do this so it must be possible.
When we are exhausted we long for someone to take charge – that is what Jesus is doing here ‘Come!’
Ministry – as a full-timer or a volunteer – doesn’t fit with the 21st century concept of work-life balance. Instead the more helpful concept is that of rhythm and speed.
It is impossible to manage ministry in the same way each day, or even week. For example Christmas will always be a busy period in ministry. In a work-life balance model we fail if we are involved in all that goes on in church at Christmas. Yet rhythm says this is okay, with rest and holiday the week after.
The old phrase is look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. We need to look for rhythm in our days, weeks, months, and beyond.
We need to obey and take a Sabbath rest!
Often a deeper root being exposed here – we are works based and not grace based.
Feel compelled, guilty, fear what others think, not pulling my weight
But we are called to say ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light’, can we say that?
Would we feel guilty if we did?
Is Sabbath rest a norm for us, preventing us from getting weary and heavy ladened?
- Singles – you’ve not no family to take up your time! Really!!! Do your family and friends feel you have a good boundaries?
- Married – does your partner not only know but see/experience them being more important than church?
- Kids – are your kids fighting with the church for your attention? Are they seeing your faith in action in your personal life and not just your work/volunteering?
Or are we simply hiding – Is work an escapism from your life/all of these – babysit my kids!!
We are called to love God – do we only pray and read his word for the sake of a preach?
Love our neighbour – is that youth outreach based.
Love ourselves – do we even attempt this one?
Watchman Nee – “Adam began his life with the sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter God’s rest, and then alone can he work.”
Eph 2 v6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. …8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
“For Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE”. – we are invited to enjoy it, not try and attain it.
Priorities – The picture of putting the big stones in first – God, Family & Friends, church. Being obedient to what he asks – so we need to take time to listen.
Are our children/youth growing up – whirl wind of activity – doing instead of being is the signal we send. Resent church.
Be kind to ourselves and others on our teams. Demonstrates Grace and that we trust God.
If self care is seen as another task on a list to be ticked off then it may well not be the genuine care that we need. Chpt 12 – Well watered tree. Ian Hoskins. Youth Ministry edited by Sally Nash. 2011
There is a tension between productivity and faithfulness. As Henri Nouwen points out – “Productivity is an attempt to create life” but “we are called to deliver lasting fruit.” The issue centres on who is in control and how much intimacy is there – it’s a focus on the relationship not what comes out of it.
As Oswald Chambers said: “The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.”
Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we can’t help but be shaped by the world.
Scarcity mentality: there isn’t enough time to do everything I need to do. Key Q: How do I get all this done?
- Importance of image: concern with my audience (e.g. facebook); worried what people think; personal ‘brand’; hide the real you. Key Q: How do I look to others?
- Workplace of culture: productivity focus; concern with measurement and success; congregation satisfcation and market share; comparison with others leads to working harder. Key Q: How do I justify my life? Have I done enough?
- Work-life balance: You can have it all; Fear Of Missing Out; fill every minute; Key Q: How do I do it all
- Orphan mentality: I’m on my own; it’s all down to me; self-reliance; unable to truth God or others. Key Q: How do I trust?
- Fear: Of vulnerability; of failure; of rejection; of not belonging. Key Q: How do I not … ?
And yet God doesn’t need me to do anything but I receive the privilege of joining in His mission with Him.
Three areas of well-being we want to focus on:
- Take a Sabbath
- Healthy eating
Stress is “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them” according to the Health & Safety Executive. From a Christian perspective stress is forgetting who God is, who we are, and that there is an enemy.
The spring is designed to extend, take pressure, release and return to the starting point.
- Change: Births, marriage, deaths, moving house, changing jobs etc.
- Demands and expectations of others: Expectations which are often not written down. It is key to bring them out into the open: “I am here to serve you but you are not my master.”
- Self-expectation: This multiples the 2 springs above it. If you try to keep everyone happy then when high demands happen it is even harder.
- Demotivation and resentment: Resent work that someone else should do; resentful that God hasn’t delivered certain things. Sense of scarcity and ownership.
- Attack: As J.B. Phillips said “Enemy loves to squeeze us into the model of the world.”
Strengthen the spring: go back to the physical well-being: sleep, exercise, health diet, good spiritual habits.
Develop your support network: who prays for you on an ongoing basis? Family and friends; mentor; accountability groups; spiritual direction etc. To receive support it requires us to be humble. Sometimes our role focuses on supporting others so much that we struggle to receive help.
Understand and reduce the weights: understand the dynamic between the weights and recognise the role of the ‘conformed mind’. Reduce the impact of the weights.
We ignore the fact that we are emotional beings to our peril. We need to teach our youth and especially our lads that emotions are part of us, and if suppressed cause untold damage.
Learning to express emotions is a healthy and normal part of our development.
Where do you worship and feed? Are you only reading the Bible to prepare for youth sessions; praying arrow prayers to God because you haven’t had time to prepare?
It is important that all of us step back and worship God, and receive from Him. This can be a challenge e.g. older youth doing children’s work and never going to church.
A young person stepped back from leading worship because she was no longer worshiping – a chore and needs to connect again – such guts.
Do we take time out to BE and not do?
What works for you?