Rest is often the first task to fly off our to-do lists. Fall Fests, VBS planning, kids’ discipleship, volunteer recruitment, and staff meetings occupy much of our time, and they are worthy investments. Yet, if we’re not careful to prioritize rest, we’ll find ourselves flirting with burnout, experiencing exhaustion and lack of motivation that led us to ministry in the first place. Practicing regular Sabbath rest actively propels the longevity and continuity of your ministry. As you plan your ministry goals and calendar for the upcoming year, consider these three elements of rest to strengthen your ministry and personal walk with the Lord.
Sunday is the busiest and least restful day for a KidMin leader, but that doesn’t mean you are not called to rest. In the midst of your official schedule, you are called to Sabbath. This type of rest is not just about sleep, vacation, or taking a break. It is an active practice of being filled with the Lord. Make room in your calendar for Sabbath rest. Plan for it and honor that time. Give yourself permission to delegate or say no to certain tasks so that your soul can be nourished and refreshed by the Lord. Look ahead to the times you know you will spend extra energy or effort, and calendar purposeful rest for yourself both before and after these events. Rest is not a sin; it is not laziness. Sabbath rest honors God and your ministry as you lead in His strength.
Life is loud, especially ministry life. Take time to identify and silence the distractions that pull you away from a gospel focus. Schedule regular time to get quiet before the Lord. Let a few people know where you’ll be and get alone with God. Leave your phone behind. Be still before Him without any distractions, and let the God who called you to this ministry satisfy your heart and soul as only He can. Ask Him to show you areas of your spiritual, emotional, physical, and social life that you have neglected or ignored for too long. Allow Him to fill you and remind you of what matters most.
Evaluate your ministry and your personal life. What is the most effective rhythm in your ministry that leads you towards kingdom work? Is there anything that you are giving more time and energy to that doesn’t match your vision or goals? Is there anything you need to say no to? Identify the core values of your ministry and consider how your calendar reflects these values. Invite people who know and care about you into this conversation. Ask for honest evaluation of how you are balancing your ministry responsibilities with your personal life.
Kids ministry is rewarding work that is worth the effort, time, and sacrifice. To continue serving the kids and families God has called us to, we must consider how to Sabbath effectively and appropriately. Take time this week to consider how you can steward your time and incorporate Sabbath rest in your regular rhythms of life so that you can continue serving faithfully and joyfully to this beautiful messy life of Kids ministry.
Kayla Stevens is the Content Editor for Lifeway Kids Discipleship. She is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and William Carey University. Kayla lives in Nashville, Tennessee and has served in Kids ministry for over 10 years.