Nevertheless, on this exceptional day, I went to church (preaching next Sunday, not today), facilitated a Wellness Ministry meeting, came home and worked on all kinds of little things that I've needed to get done for a l.o.n.g. time! Feels good to get them off my desk.
Here's something I wrote for the Area newsletter. I'm on our Spiritual Life Committee, and we want to remind pastors of the importance of attending to their spiritual lives....
Cherish Your Ministry
Most clergy experience a rich sense of fulfillment in serving their congregations—fulfillment that provides zest and energy. Yet, if we’re honest, most of us have also had times when our vocation seemed so demanding that our spirits dried up and a sense of apathy pervaded. Perhaps we did our best to deny that feeling and kept trudging along, hoping that no one would notice our lethargy and boredom.
If you’re like me, you know that our calling to ministry is a precious thing. There are times when the intense awareness of what a privilege it is to serve Christ’s Body on this earth just takes my breath away. But our calling to ministry is also fragile and must be tended carefully if it is to remain vibrant and authentic. Caring for others, serving and leading them, telephone calls at inconvenient times, disagreements and misunderstandings, and just flat out too much to do—whew! our work can easily deplete all our spiritual reserves. If we don’t take the time to replenish our souls, then ennui, a bone-deep weariness, and burnout can be serious threats.
Attending to our spiritual life can take a vast variety of forms. A hike in nature can do wonders for some of us. For others, regular meetings with other colleagues in a truly safe environment where we can share deeply will restore our ability to sense God’s presence. For me, it is time away that seems to help the most. I have attended most of the Five Day Academies for Spiritual Formation since this program first came to our Area in the 1990s, and it always helps me reconnect to God and to myself. I’m reminded of why ministry is so vital to who I am, and I come away refreshed and energized.
TBA’s Spiritual Life Committee, chaired by Rev. S____, is gently reminding pastors that paying attention to our spiritual life is vital to authentic ministry. We hope you’ll consider the Five Day Academy, March 8-13, 2009. If that doesn’t work for you, we are also offering some deeply enriching one-day get-aways led by Rev. D ______ on September 22, November 17, and January 19. And we’ll be publicizing other spiritual formation opportunities during the year.
Cherish your ministry. I’m pretty sure God does.