Discovering A Work Life Balance In Ministry


Having a rhythm to your ministry and life is something that most people nod their heads and affirm as a good thing. However, if you ask ten people how to achieve a work life balance in ministry, you’ll get ten different answers.

Finding rhythm in life and ministry is a personal process and will look different for each individual. God has wired each of us uniquely to work and to rest.  Finding the balance between the two is the definition of rhythm.

Serving in ministry provides ample opportunity to work and work hard but minimal time to rest. No matter how busy your schedule, stop to reflect on these four aspects of establishing a rhythm to your life in ministry.

Pause: This word is easy to say but difficult to do. Richard Foster said it best in his famous book Celebration of Discipline, “The most difficult problem is not finding time but convincing myself that this is important enough to set aside the time.”

Set aside time in your day to stop checking your phone, stop chasing your email, stop worrying about Sunday and take time to pause, to breathe, and to pray. Don’t let your mind wander to planning the next sermon illustration or ministry event. Just be still. God calls us to this in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It is unnatural for most of us to sit still. Inevitably, our brain will kick back into gear and try to push us towards our next task. However, the value of a pause in the day can mean the difference between purposeful action and meaningless activity, which will keep you in a healthy rhythm by allowing you to rest, even at your most busy times.

Rest: So much of our day (and sometimes who we are) is defined by what we do or what we are able to achieve. If we are defined by what we achieve, then we are living in fear, not the freedom Christ desires for us. Instead of rejoicing that we are a tool being used by the master carpenter, we become a hammer that only has worth if it is striking the nail. In other words, we confuse bearing fruit with being in action. When we are able to rest and be present in the moment, our purpose becomes clear again.

Priorities: What is important? Being free from fear allows for clear thinking. Remember it is for freedom that Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1), and fear is the greatest slaver there ever was. Fear takes many forms, but one of its most common appearances is as the tyranny of the urgent task. No matter how pressing the deadline is, there is always time to pause, rest, and refocus on what is important. When we are free from fear we can see clearly, and when we can see clearly it is time to run.

Run: Rhythm is the cycle between rest and action. If we rest well, we can run our race well. As Eric Liddell famously said in the movie Chariots of Fire, “God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.”

God made you for a purpose, as a tool for him to use in ministry to his church. Are you free to run and feel his pleasure?

How do you find rest amidst the stress of life in ministry?