Ministry is not a job or a career. Being in full time ministry is a calling. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. One of the fantasies I had about being in ministry is that it would automatically bring me closer to God. If only that were true.
One thing I find myself struggling with is finding time & space for my own quiet time with God. I get so caught up in the busyness of ministry that I leave my personal walk empty. My Bible readings are “job-related” and so it’s not the same as spending legit time, quality time, just being with God in His presence. Don’t get me wrong, God can speak to me through my work readings, but there is something very different with my personal time with God.
There’s also something so fulfilling about being connected with other believers. I know so many other ministry leaders that cannot even begin to tell you the last time they attended a worship service that wasn’t a special program they were part of or a time of worship at a conference. I am blessed to be part of a church with amazing volunteers where I get to attend worship twice a month. Compared to most other friends I have in ministry, this is a lot! I’m happy for me, but sad to see & hear of my friends in ministry who aren’t being fed & nourished in this manner. There’s something awesome about worshipping with other believers and letting God speak to you that way.
One part of being in ministry that I am missing is being part of a small group. I miss having those that I connect with on such a deep level, where I know I won’t be judged regardless of what we discuss or confess with each other. I am truly missing that bond with other women in my life. I am completely depleted in this department. I have friends, but there’s something so very different – and it’s hard to put into words – about being part of a small group. Being a ministry leader, it’s hard to find that.
Sometimes it’s hard to be a ministry leader because people put you on a pedestal, where they expect you to be the perfect Christ follower, often forgetting that you, too, are human and have Spiritual needs. While I desire to be closer to those in the church I attend, I don’t think being part of a small group there would be beneficial for a number of reasons. I miss the small group I had with several other co-workers at the church I worked at, 2 churches ago. We still get together every once in awhile, but it’s not as often as any of us would like – especially with 2 of us being at different churches now.
I need to be intentional about seeking out a small group and committing to it. I need that kind of community in my life. I need a group of women I can bond with, cry with, vent with, talk about my darkest times & my happiest times – all of this & more, WITHOUT judgement.
Ministry leaders need to be intentional about taking a Sabbath on another day of the week. I’ve slacked off in this area lately. My ministry position is currently “part time” (meaning I’m only paid part time hours). So to help pay bills & reduce debt, I have 2 other jobs (and am contemplating adding another). One of those jobs is one afternoon/week, as an adjunct professor. I work in my church office before heading to the college to teach. The other job is working for a local bookstore, going to schools & working bookfairs. I absolutely enjoy all 3 jobs. However, I sometimes don’t allow myself to slow down & observe a Sabbath – trusting God to help with our finances.
Ministry leaders run on empty more than you know. We need to take better care of ourselves to avoid burn out, which can lead to a myriad of bad things. For me, personally, the need for a small group has been at the top of my Spiritual needs, in addition to a Sabbath and time to “just be”.