How to Rest when You’re Called to Lead

Mountain lake

“… After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone …”


Just after Jesus miraculously fed (and preached to) over five thousand people, He went away by Himself to rest.

There were still people who needed healing. There were still sermons to be preached and people to be reached. But He intentionally stopped what He was doing, retreated to a remote place, and reconnected with His Father.

Jesus understood that in order to thrive in ministry, we need to regularly re-orient our lives around the One who calls us to minister.

This isn’t easy—and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Jesus modeled it repeatedly for His disciples. But a life without rest is not sustainable. Without it, we burn out, stress out, and, ironically, we start to lose our ability to fulfill the calling on our lives.

Work without rest leads to the death of creativity, productivity, and reliability. So if you want to serve others well, you need to learn how and when to get away and refocus.

Here are 3 ways church leaders can create rhythms of rest:

  1. Manage Your Time
  2. God is the giver of every resource you have. So one way to honor God with your resources is by placing guardrails around the time He’s given you.

    You can begin by taking an inventory of your time and creating daily timeblocks for rest. Structuring your day helps you prioritize what work urgently needs to get done, and what can wait. While guardrails may at first feel constricting, they will eventually give you the freedom to prioritize the work—and the relationships—that matter the most.

    God, I easily get so caught up in what I am doing that I forget to rest. I lose track of time because I haven’t managed it wisely. Please forgive me, and change me. Help me to manage my time well—for Your glory, and for my good. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

  1. Meditate on Scripture
  2. If you’re involved in church leadership, then you know how important it is to study God’s Word every day. But sometimes, it’s easy to confuse preparing for work with investing in your own spiritual growth.

    So if you haven’t already, get in the habit of scheduling daily or weekly sessions where you simply read God’s Word. Begin this time by asking God to reveal Himself to you, and then focus on letting His words speak into your life. Keep notes of anything He shows you, and continue to reflect on them throughout your day.

    God, thank You for helping me find rest in Your presence. I want that—and I need that. So right now, I surrender my expectations for what time in Your Word should look like. Please renew my mind, heal my heart, and give me the rest I need. Amen.

  1. Make Rest Memorable
  2. After God created the world, He purposely stepped back and enjoyed His creation. By doing this, God demonstrated that resting regularly can help us see that what He accomplishes through us truly is “good.”

    Consider setting aside a day each week to do something memorable that helps you rest. This could mean turning off your phone and going to a local park, or it could look like roadtripping to one of your favorite places with people you love. Practicing intentional rest will not only make your rest more meaningful, it will also give you a deeper appreciation for the work you do and the lives you impact.

    God, thank You for demonstrating what rest looks like. I’m not always great at stepping back, so please help me with this. Use my intentional times of rest to strengthen my relationships, renew my mind, and remind me of my calling. Amen.

Ultimately, if we do not create space in our lives to rest, we will run out of space to serve the people God has asked us to serve.

To help you reclaim some rest, we’ve partnered with Church Online Platform to create a three-day audio Plan called Reset After Easter. Consider completing this Plan with your church team, and find rest in God’s Word—together.

Rest After Easter

Start Plan

This week, commit to running your race well by committing to resting well. Trust God with your time and give yourself permission to step back from the work you love in order to love the One who called you to your work.

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