I wrote an introduction to these practical tips and tools here: Bi-Vocational Ministry: Forget Balance.
I’ve been in Bi-Vocational Ministry for 13 years…pretty much since I stepped into my first Youth Pastor role at age 23; I’ve worked a second and sometimes third job to support this passion of ministry in the Church. So here are some practical tools I have found along the way that have helped me to create a rhythm to life which can often get over stuffed with scheduling demands that I don’t have control over!
Take a Sabbath. I know, I know…you’re thinking “Korista, I thought you were going to share an app or life hack with me…not a commandment!” Whelp, here’s the deal. If you want rhythm you MUST create it by first obeying this command “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8 God wants us to rest, he modeled it in Creation and Jesus modeled it when he would draw away from the crowds and seek God. Rest, real refreshing rest, breathes LIFE, recharges our souls, bodies and minds. Rest has a few different contributors to making us healthy:
Sleep: Do you know what happens if you do not get enough sleep? You start to have physical and mental health issues, you become less effective in all parts of your life (not just at work) and if you’re like most people you become not so fun to be around! Not to mention you run the risk of becoming short tempered, snarky and just grumpy; which are not the best characteristics for pastors and leaders! SO GET SOME REST! Here is an article that talks about the physical and mental health issues that you face when you are sleep deprived: 25 Horrible Things that Can Happen if you Don’t get enough sleep.
Prayer: As bi-vocational pastors we run the real risk of taking our devotional, prayer and silent time from God focused to ministry focused. Often I will sit down for my devotional time and end up writing a sermon, small group lesson or mentorship note. I suggest that for health and rest we must commit to prayer on our Sabbath day as a focus of just spending time in God’s presence. Start to listen during this time, not for your church, not for the many lessons you need to plan but for YOU. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 An exercise that I have started to make a part of my rhythm is to sit down alone, write out the list of all of my worries, to do’s, fears, struggles, growth points and then taking each of those things and burning them. As I burn each item I pray and release them to God. Then I SIT. I just sit and listen to what God is speaking to me through his word and his Spirit. Whatever your routine looks like, take time to pray without the agenda of others. Seek God about you.
Do Something that FILLS your Energy tank: I am an introvert so I REQUIRE a larger amount of quiet alone time throughout my week. I have worked those times into my days…not just my Sabbath. On my Sabbath, I seek to do some fun things that fill me as well. A movie, a book store, or a walk through the Zoo can all fill my energy tank. I purposefully don’t schedule my Sabbath day. What I mean by that is, every other day of my week is run by the clock. I constantly have reminders that pop up and tell me to go to this meeting, write this note or work on this project; not so on my Sabbath! Sometimes I wake up and don’t want to do ANYTHING! I don’t want to clean my house or go to a coffee shop-so I don’t. Some days I do; so I do!
A few important ideas when approaching Sabbath:
1. Adding a Sabbath is a challenge but a WORTHWHILE one! So, I suggest, start small. Maybe you can’t do a full day on a Friday but you can start your Sabbath on Friday at 5 and end it on Saturday at 5. Start with small consistent changes you can make and feasibly keep at for the long haul!
2. Protect your Sabbath! Emergencies within your family, congregation and work will happen BUT these interruptions to your day of rest should be few and far between. Back in the day, we didn’t have cell phones so I would go on a drive or go away for the day and not worry about people interrupting my day. Now I have learned of this great button on my iPhone called “do not disturb”. I click that button and only people in my “favorites” list from my contacts can text or call during that time. It’s GREAT! Because the people in my “favorites” list are people who know how important my day off is and know when something is a REAL emergency that I, the Lead Pastor, need to know about.
How do you structure or protect your Sabbath? Share in the comments below!