A long weekend of ministry can drain a pastor’s tank and leave them feeling empty as a new week begins on Monday. In pursuit of greater productivity, pastors can embark on the new week without the physical and spiritual resources needed to fulfill the work of ministry. Here are a few suggestions to help my fellow brothers refill their tank:
- Feed Yourself from God’s Word – Apply the Word of God to your own life before you ever start thinking about how you should apply it to the lives of others. And when you are preparing sermons, feast on the ingredients for your own nourishment. Slow down and meditate on the text itself. Do not study for others without regard for your own spiritual health. A malnourished pastor can hardly feed others.
- Take Time for Prayer and Reflection – In a quiet place, pray. In light of what God has said to you in His Word, ask Him to manifest His presence in your life and fill you with the Holy Spirit. Ask God to refresh your heart with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Reflect on Christ’s love for you. Can you believe it? God loves you. Is there a greater truth to remember after emptying yourself the day before for God’s people? Will He not be faithful and fill you up again?
- Read Good Books on Pastoral Ministry– Just this morning, I woke at 4:30 AM, had a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and strong black coffee, and read from portions of two new books on pastoral ministry. In the first book, I was reminded of my role as a shepherd by Jared C. Wilson in Portraits of a Pastor. It was a refreshment to my soul. Then, I read a significant portion of Dr. Danny Akin’s chapter on the pastor’s role in the great commission in his new book, Pastoral Theology. In both cases, I was encouraged and challenged. Both chapters added fuel to this pastor’s fire.
- Rest in the Sovereignty of God – Last night, our small groups studied the principle of Sola Scriptura, which states that God’s Word is the final authority in matters of faith and practice. As an aspect of this principle, we learned that our responsibility as believers is to get the Word of God to the ears of the people while recognizing that it is only the Spirit of God who can take the Word from the ears to the hearts of the congregation. Pastor, if you were faithful to preach Christ yesterday, then you were successful. Faithfulness in ministry cannot be equated with the immediacy of the fruit that we see in ministry. Sometimes, we sow while another waters, but God alone can give the increase. Rest in His sovereign power to give the increase in His timing. You just take care to be faithful to make sure that you have sowed and watered the seed of the gospel.
These are just a few thoughts on how to refill your tank after a long week of ministry. I would love to hear from you on how you practically refuel for the week. And, if you have found this material helpful, please share with others that they might be encouraged too.