December. The most wonderful time of the year, but also the busiest. And the most stressful. This month we are going to see if there is a way out of that stress, or if as ministry leaders, we just have to get through it.
Busy Season or Holy Season?
Our hosts opens up with the question: “Is this busy time important for the church?” Our guest says from a theological perspective it definitely is. Considering that most of the world celebrates this season of Christmas, he views it as a great opportunity to remind people of the good news. And in some sense, they are still expecting that news to be shared.
Every month is a busy month in ministry, our guests reminds us. But for Christmas especially, this is a season that has months of planning behind it. From Christmas Eve series to the whole season, how do you present this old information in a new way? Then there is the decorating, staff parties, and family traditions to consider.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Shar Shalom) – we are walking around with an umbrella of peace, our guest reminds us. That can make such a difference in our outlook on this busy season.
Our host asks if Christmas and Easter people ever seem to come off as an extra hassle, during an already busy season. Pastor Phillips likes to use these golden opportunities for those that may be astringed from the faith, to be able to taste and see that the Lord is good. If we have that mindset, we won’t mind the extra events, or the extra people. Instead, we can view it as a seed being planted, and that, Pastor Susan says, is a privilege.
Keeping the Peace
“How do you keep the peace and joy during this season, personally?” our host asks. Take it one day at a time, Pastor Phillip says. Pace yourself for what is ahead. Age and experience might help, but he knows that in the end, it will all work out. Aren’t we talking about Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards man during this season? We have to make sure we remember what this season is supposed to be about.
For Pastor Susan, this includes things like planning ahead, and decorating really early. This allows her to be a more gracious and present host, so things don’t get harried right before company. Your posture during the season is also important, and that definitely comes from experiencing life in ministry for as many years as our guests have.
Create Space for Down Time
We know you can’t do everything during this busy season, so “How do you say no gracefully?” our host wants to know. Our guest says it may not always be guilt free, but it is necessary. Pastor Phillip now knows you have to have healthy boundaries to keep going.
For staff, they give extra time off. Not something that they have to take out of their bank, but something extra. Since the staff knows that ahead of time, it does help during the busiest and more stressful parts of the season.
Our guests leave us with these ideas for keeping the joy and peace of the season present. Keep the main thing the main thing, create fun, create traditions, schedule family time together, and celebrate your staff. Allow Jesus to be the JOY of our lives, be the example. Let the Holy Spirit manifest the love, grace, mercy, kindness, and goodness of God through our lives. Not giving in to the stress and pressure to perform. #HakunaMatata
A final thought for you to think on this week, “Would Jesus enjoy being in this home, or this Christmas service?”
Join us next week as we continue our discussion on the Joy of doing ministry during the Christmas season.
Special thanks to our guests Pastor Phillip and Pastor Susan O’Reilly and our masters of all things podcasting, Chris & Lauren Miller, for this second episode in our Joy of Christmas series.