As a ministry leader, this is the week, right?! You and your team are pouring hours into all the last minute details as you anticipate bigger crowds coming with hopeful expectations on one of the biggest weekends of the year for the church. Whether you’re preparing the message for the weekend, refining the worship set, preparing for families in one of your environments, or coaching your 1st Impressions team, this is the Super Bowl, the final miles of the marathon that you’ve been working on for months.
And. You. Are. Exhausted.
Part of the reason for our fatigue as a church staffer during Easter and Christmas (Back-to-School, summer, camps… seriously every season is full) is because we know these moments are great opportunities to connect with people, meet new people and hopefully connect them with God in a new and fresh way, so we pour our 110% into creating an incredible and hopefully, transformational experience for everyone who will come. We love these moments, but they come with a price.
It’s easy to miss it…Easter. We glaze over the significance of our Savior dying and rising from the dead, just like he said he would, the lessons in the smallest sentences from the gospel stories that ignite our spirits and energize our souls with timeless truths. In the rush of the urgent, our lists and tasks begin to trump our need to run from the empty tomb with the adrenaline rush of the truth of the resurrection and instead moves us into a pace so fast that we find our heart strings connected to the lists of the event, instead of to Jesus and leaves us with a major ministry hang-over on Sunday night.
Here are 3 simple ideas to get it all done and not feel like hamburger at the end of the weekend:
- Adopt a Magdalenian Wholeheartedness. In Matthew’s telling of the gospel (chapter 28), we see Mary Magdalene and the “other” Mary at the tomb. Mary wasn’t going to let anything keep her from serving her Lord, she had a list of things to do. Frederick Dale Bruner calls this in his commentary of the book of Matthew, “Magdalenian Fidelity”, she was fiercely devoted, tenacious and loyal. But look what happens next! The angel appears… Jesus isn’t here… GO QUICKLY, tell the disciples! They didn’t wait, ask questions, entertain doubt or skepticism. Oh no, they ran quickly! Jesus meets them along the way in an earthy, “Hi!” sort of way. Here it is though, don’t miss this… they didn’t keep running (verse 9), they stopped, they worshiped, I bet they giggled and laughed with the same excitement of a kid at Disneyland! They didn’t dismiss the mission interruption… They stopped. They splashed in the set-aside moment to connect with their Jesus. Jesus is meeting you right in the middle of your long list of tasks, don’t miss him! Set aside time to stop, hear him, see his smile and then, get back on the “road” of the appointed mission.
- Manage your expectations for your own celebration. On top of the endless list for the preparation creating the perfect experience for all of the people who will attend your campus this weekend, in the back of your mind you’ve slipped your own personal family celebration to the back burner. Instead of staying up until 2am getting shopping done, baskets filled and menus finalized, give yourself permission to keep it simple for your family.
- Say yes to the invitation to someone else’s house. I love to entertain in our home, but I’ve learned over the years after 5, 7, 10 or more services I’m completely wrung out afterwards.
- Have a no-stress meal and watch some movies. If you’re like me, a movie or a game on the television on a Sunday afternoon, it’s the perfect white noise for a nap.
- Take care of you and your team. During frenzied seasons of ministry, it’s easy to grab whatever food or goodie available; slam a Diet Coke and some Skittles and try to function on three hours a sleep every day for 10 straight days. I get it, my go-to lifter-upper, quick fix is a bag of Terra Chips, a coffee and chocolate. But we all know the results of doing this day after day… crash and burn, which just leads to more chips, coffee and chocolate and the cycle continues leaving us tired, fatigued, and totally ticked off at ourselves for those choices. During this week, make smart eating choices, drink water instead of soda and get the rest you need. Help those on your team to make wise choices for their bodies too. A leader is only as effective as they are healthy. Think about it, your car only runs well with the proper fuel, if you add the wrong fuel your car isn’t going to be useful. The same is true for you, good fuel equals a well-oiled machine ready for thoughtful conversations and the energy to get things done.
At the end of the day, Easter is for you too. Don’t miss it. Take time to reflect and listen to your Papa God’s heartbeat, manage your personal expectations and take care of yourself. What about you, what are the things you do to enter big seasons or weekends in a euphoric way, instead of out of exhaustion? I’d love to hear and learn from you too!
Praying for each of you these last few days before the party starts! C