India is the second most populated country in the world, with only three or four percent of whom claim to be Christians. Since there is a lot of work done by very few leaders, often Christian leaders feel guilty, sometimes even feel ashamed to say “No” to any ministerial duties or tasks, even when they are fully tired and need to spend time with their families.
Too many pastors or Christian leaders get intensely involved with the problems of members of their flocks that these issues have a direct impact on the physical and emotional health of the leader unless they learn to draw and maintain clear boundaries in ministry. An important part of a pastor’s job is “pastoral care”, which means that he or she is confronted with the personal problems, relationship problems, illness, suffering and death of other people. This aspect of the pastor’s job may be emotionally taxing. Especially if they fail to help a child, or a family or a marriage, a pastor may become very frustrated, discouraged and depressed if he or she does not know how to handle the situation.
Full time ministry is challenging no matter how we look at it, however, I don’t think God calls us to something that is a setup for failure. The frustrations, emotional dryness, hopelessness and discouragements are all caused because we fail to obey God in maintaining our Sabbath, a spiritual rhythm God commanded us to follow so that we are not overwhelmed with duties and responsibilities.
Jesus himself took time off from work, he went to solitary places to pray and refresh his soul, it is really a tragedy that many evangelical leaders have totally ignored this example and have reaped the consequences of shallow spirituality. It is my prayer and hope that every Christian leader takes time to pause, reflect and renew their vision for God often. If you feel overwhelmed with ministry, its time to come and retreat from the busy life. Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11: 28-29)