Leaders constantly give of themselves to those who serve. How can they recharge? Where can they find restorative practices for ministry that build up our well-being?
Today I’m attending the Lewis Fellows alumni gathering at Wesley Theological Seminary and we are engaging in reflecting and reviewing our role as young leaders in the church. This morning, Dr. Matt Bloom led us pastors in examining our well-being. Dr. Bloom and his team surveyed over 1,000 pastors in 8 different denominations in an attempt to learn:
- The characteristics of clergy well-being.
- What factors or impede well-being?
- How well-being changes over a life-span.
Dr. Bloom presented the following guidance for “recharging” our batteries for well-being:
Dr. Bloom spoke about how 6 activities are critical for our daily, weekly, or monthly well-being:
- Relaxation: taking moments for the day to put your feet up or to pause
- Sleep: Quality sleep on a nightly basis
- Detachment: Being able to decouple from our work, our phone, or office – even for 30 minutes
- Fun: Finding even a moment or section of time to enjoy an activity that creates excitement.
- Restorative niche: an activity that leads to mastery (wood working, hiking, etc…)
- Spiritual practices: mostly contemplative practices (meditation, lectio divina, prayer, etc…)
Part of the challenge of putting these things into practice is allowing ourselves the time and permission to take a half day, week, retreat, or morning off. Churches must understand the complex and stressful challenge that pastors and ministry leaders navigate. Pastors often feel guilty taking time to do the above practices because these practices often are not considered direct ministry to others.
Self-care for pastors and ministry leaders is crucial. Burn out and depression can creep in and take control of our focus. By adopting the these 6 restorative practices you can find more fulfillment and well-being in your work.