It is easy to get ourselves into a situation where we forget to worship. Serving or working in the local church is a great way to stay connected and build on your faith, but sometimes our role becomes just a job. We get so caught up in the routine of church work that we forget to spend time in the presence of God. It is easy in church world to get pre-occupied with filling spots and making sure the service runs smoothly, and doing all the behind the scenes things that are necessary for a church service or event that we forget about real reason we are there, the reason that we started doing all of this stuff in the first place. Jesus.
If we want to be used by God and serve others to our fullest potential we can not neglect our own mental and spiritual health. So, what are some practical ways you can take care of yourself?
1. Make daily devotional time a priority.
If you have been a Christian for any amount of time, you know this is a must. This can be the most difficult yet most influential discipline of our lives. It is easy to let this time slip away from us despite our best intentions. If we h to experience God in the here and now we have to commit to align ourselves with what He says. Daily devotional time positions us not only to hear from God, but to filter through our own thoughts and feelings and allow Him to remind us of His truth. It is important that we take a step back and examine our hearts to see if our service or ministry is taking away from our time in the presence of God.
The most important thing in your life is knowing and growing in God. It is how we build our faith, it is how we can have the strength to let God do the impossible in us and through us. If you are not taking care of your personal spiritual growth how do you expect to even be able to serve others?
2. Take a Break
It is important to make time to refresh your spirit by taking a break. It is easy to get trapped in the cycle of events and busyness that surrounds the church. You go go go so much that you forget to take a breath. You want to stop for a moment, but you feel like if you do the entire world will come crashing down, and you will be stuck with cleaning up the mess. These feelings should be a signal to you that you need a break. If you feel like you can’t take a break you need to re-evaluate your systems and workflow in order to allow yourself to have periods of rest. If you have a highly involved role in your church it is wise to you keep a step by step list or manual of sorts that details every task you do, how and why you do it, and how much time it takes for each task. That way you never have feel like no one can do your job, but you.
Once you have made yourself take a break it is a good idea to be intentional with your time. Use it not only to rest, but to refresh your mind and heart in the presence of God. Try something new, see something you’ve never seen, eat something you’ve never tasted. New experiences outside of your normal bubble can ignite new ideas and perspectives that can make you see or hear God in ways that you would not have otherwise. It is good to break your routine every once in while in order to keep your work fresh and your heart and mind from getting stagnant or complacent.
3. Seek out or create opportunities to worship
A lot of jobs in the church require you to be working during services. Especially if you are on the production crew. In these cases, it can be tricky for you just to be able to attend a service. I would argue that this is the second most important thing you can do to take care of yourself. You have to attend church, not just be in church. This is a healthy and necessary part of growing in God and experiencing His presence. Get with your supervisor and/or your team and work out a way where all of you can have opportunities to just attend a service.
Train another staff member to do your in service duties, and have them train you in theirs so you can give each other a break. Build up your volunteers so that they can cover for you for a service every once in a while. This is another area where the above mentioned task list can come in handy. Get creative, think outside the box.
I worked for a church for several years as a lighting director, and I often found myself longing to just sit in a service and soak up the presence of God. I did not advocate for myself enough out of fear that no one else could do my job as well as I could. As a result I became bitter and resentful, and I allowed those thoughts to take over my heart. I was missing out on all that God had for me because my thoughts were consumed with how things should be.
In all actuality what I was feeling was a desperation for more of God, but I let the bitterness of that rob me of the freedom and comfort that I was supposed to feel in Him. The most important thing you can do as a Christian no matter what is to spend time in the presence of God. You can not know Him without experiencing His presence, and you can not genuinely and whole-heartedly serve the church unless you know Him.