As a leader, it’s just not realistic to be available 24/7 at any time, let alone at the busiest time of the year. Set expectations about when you will be available and when you will not.
Number of tasks v Number of hours
Are you feeling the Christmas stress in ministry already? For most pastors and church leaders, Christmas brings additional tasks. You may be preaching at more services and organising additional community activities such as lunches, winter shelters, Christmas present and hamper appeals, and so on. The problem is that there are the same number of hours in the day in December as there are in any other month in the year. We fall into the trap of trying to do more and more, instead of focusing on doing less. So here is one thing to stop doing today to help relieve you of stress in ministry.
Bring available all day every day
I know, you’re a people person, and surely a pastor should be available to his or her people 24/7. But that’s just not practicable is it? Even if you are not proactive about when you’re available, you’re de facto not available when you’re leading worship, for example, or when you’re in a meeting, or visiting someone in hospital. No-one seriously expects you to be available 24/7. There are times when you need to be uninterrupted.
When I am studying for a sermon, or writing it, or when I am planning worship, I need to be left alone undisturbed. Otherwise, I lose my train of thought. You will have deep work or other work that requires your concentration where interruptions are a hindrance.
Stop the interruptions. Of course, you do need to be accessible to your team and your people. So set their expectations. Set times when you will be available and ask them to contact you then.
If you stop trying to be available 24/7 today, I believe you will suffer less stress in ministry this Christmas and beyond. You will have freed yourself to focus your energy on the most important things you need to do this season.
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