The Most Neglected Discipline in Ministry

Written by John Essy on May 10, 2022 in Pastoral Helps

Today's guest blog was written by John Essy, Director of A.R.M.I.Operations.

After reading the title of my post, I know you're probably thinking to yourself, "oh, that's easy… it's prayer," or "it's bible study," or one of the other disciplines spoken of from pulpits across the country. However, I have talked to ministers worldwide, and when you hear them talk about their schedules and daily lives, I am convinced the most neglected discipline is rest! Life is busy, not just for ministers but for everyone, it seems, but we as ministers feel the weight of being too busy the most, for a couple of reasons. There are the demands of our schedules, messages to prepare and deliver, churches and ministries to manage, and families to raise and spend time with. Still, we also have the demands of feeding, counseling, and ministering to the people of God. It seems as if there is a constant battle for our time and priorities. In all of this, we are presented with a choice, will we rest, or will we just continue to fill each day, and our minds, with constant activity, give no thought to the value and importance of rest. 

Jesus modeled the importance of rest for Him personally and His team, the disciples. 

Luke 5: 15-16 (NKJV) However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. 

 Jesus shows us clearly how when the demands of ministry increase, so do our need to get alone with God and rest. Another example of Jesus demonstrating the principle of rest is the story of Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee when a major windstorm arose. Where was Jesus when this storm came upon them … taking a nap in the back of the boat!! People joke about having to take a nap, but I believe one of the most spiritual things you can do in ministry is taking a nap!

Jesus, as a leader, also modeled how we should, as leaders, be aware that our teams need to rest also and, in some cases, won't take rest unless directed to. 

Mark 6:30-32 (NKJV) Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. 

Not taking time to rest, which will lead to burnout, is a real thing in ministry. I know I have experienced it, and it can manifest itself in many ways, such as irritability, depression, fatigue, lack of vision, and the obvious manifestation, the deterioration of our physical bodies. I was the senior pastor of a church, running a construction business and flipping and building houses. I know what you are thinking, "are you crazy?" maybe, but crazy or not, that was my life, and it caught up with me. I woke up early one Sunday morning to put the finishing touches on my message when I realized my heart wasn't acting right, I had pain in my left arm, and my blood pressure was extremely high. I will not take the time to go into the full testimony of how God spoke to me and supernaturally healed me. Still, I will say God used that experience to speak loud and clear to me that I was out of balance; I needed to take some steps in the natural to "come aside by myself to a deserted place and rest awhile." Before that incident, God had been speaking to me about slowing down and taking some rest. I thought to myself, how could I possibly slow down? I have too many things to do, and too many people depend on me. The unfortunate part of this is that it took a health scare for me to listen to the Lord and my body, to do what my Lord Jesus modeled for me.

The rest of my story goes like this; soon after that incident, I sold my construction company and the houses I was building; I merged the church I was pastoring with another local church and stepped back as the lead pastor to serve as an associate pastor. At that time, little did I know God was preparing me for my next assignment to be the Director of A.R.M.I. Operations at Andrew Wommack Ministries.

As the operations director of the Association of Related Ministries International (A.R.M.I.) I have the honor and privilege of working with ministers from all over the world. We are a relational community of ministers, and we depend on one another for support, friendship, and fellowship. Ministry can be a lonely calling, and Andrew Wommack understands this; that is why he founded A.R.M.I. He founded A.R.M.I. for ministers like you to be able to have relationships with other like-minded ministers. A.R.M.I. provides the opportunity for ministers to connect with other ministers for relational support, leadership training, and resourcing. We should not do ministry alone; we need other ministers around us who can encourage us and who understand the struggles that come with being a leader in the Kingdom of God. Healthy relationships amongst fellow ministers are a powerful thing. I have had friends who are ministers see the need for rest in my life and, because of our relationship, have gently brought it to my attention. These are the types of relationships that A.R.M.I. fosters and that we as ministers so desperately need.

My desire with this article is that you would learn from Jesus's example that when the demands of ministry increase, so should our seasons of rest. Also, learned from my personal experience that failure to do so could bring dire consequences that could derail or end the ministry God has called you to. We as ministers need relationships with other ministers, it is not good to do ministry alone, and A.R.M.I. is a great association for you to be a part of. It is an outstanding community of ministers who will encourage you, pray for you, and walk with you, and you fulfill all that God has for you.

At StartCHURCH, we give you peace of mind. You can rest because we are helping you protect what God has called you to lead. 

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Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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