Pastors and ministry leaders, you are to be commended for leading your people through the valley of the shadow of COVID for almost a year. At this point in the pandemic, many of you are showing signs of ministry fatigue, which is somewhat inevitable, but also dangerous if left unchecked. If your soul needs a sabbatical, this post is for you.
The term soul is often used as a synonym for the individual person, and is often translated as life (104x) and person (38x) in the CSB. The Greek term for soul is psyche, from which we get the English word psychology. While the heart is the eternal part of our lives that is fully redeemed, the soul is the internal part of us that is constantly in need of being restored and renewed.
Let’s consider four reasons soul care is strategic to our lives, families, and ministries.
Soul care is unselfish
PastorServe founder and CEO Jimmy Dodd recently said, “Pastors are the first in line to help people and last in line to get care.”
Until we see soul care as strategic instead of selfish, we probably will blow it off.
Paul told Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you” (2 Timothy 1:6). The term “rekindle” shows us the image of a dwindling fire that needs oxygen to stay alive. A healthy slow burn is the antithesis of burnout, so it will be wise to know the difference so that you can finish your race well.
Soul care is good stewardship
Pastors are stewards not saviors. If your church falls apart when you take a break, you have become an enabler instead of an equipper. Equipping pastors will deputize deacons and/or elders to care for senior adults, and deputize dads and moms to disciple their own families.
Time is sacred, so how we spend it is more important than how we save it. We cannot control the coronavirus, but we can and should control our calendars. Stop binge-watching sports, shows, or movies and refuse to submerge yourself into social media sinkholes.
If you are sick of stress-pastoring, then take back your life (soul) by prioritizing your tasks and relationships.
Soul care is a lordship issue
While saving time is a stewardship issue, sanctifying time is a discipleship issue. Recapture your rhythm by surrendering afresh to the work/rest cycle that God strategically put into place from day one of creation.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest…rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:28)
Since Jesus is our king, we need to make sure that he alone is the hero of His kingdom. At the height of his popularity, John the Baptist made it crystal clear to the crowd, “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). Is that message clear to your crowd?
Soul care is smart
If you have preached, pastored, and parented yourself into a COVID coma, it is not too late to turn it around and get refreshed before Spring. Since there is no obvious or immediate end in sight to this pandemic, wisely adjust your pace from sprinter to marathoner.
If you are tired of pastoring at an unsustainable pace, identify one specific change that you need to make to your weekly routine, then share it with someone who cares about you enough to hold you accountable.