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.
Keeping the Holiday Sacred
“Is keeping the holiday sacred important for the life of the church?” our host asks. Our guest thinks so. He believes that the whole concept of Christmas has really gotten lost in all the gifts, parties, activities, and Santa of it all. Ministry leaders should be the ones who draw people back to the real Reason of the Season.
Does this season create stress? Yes, the activities and expectations it puts on Pastors to show up to all of them and pray. That doesn’t include each of the Sunday services. Which brings it’s own expectations and pressures alone! How do you retell the Christmas story – but make it just a little different than last year?
Business. Time consuming. Stress. Creativity. Those are Gary’s pain points during this season. And he believes are most people’s stressors during this time. As leaders we are also asking for more help from our volunteers and constituents during this time as well. More parties, special services, service projects, and financial help.
A theme our host notes from Dr. Mathes’ words is to choose wisely. “Maybe we can’t choose everything. Maybe we shouldn’t choose everything.” – Glenn Miller
Gary also says to be upfront with your people as well. Be honest that you want to attend as many things as you can, but you also have your own family and commitments to think about. Or, if you have the staff for it – divide and conquer between your leaders.
Keep Your Own Heart Centered
This may go without saying, our guest says, but make sure you are continuing your quiet time and reflecting on the Lord. When you think you don’t have time for those things, is usually the time you need to press into that more.
Protect Your Family & Staff
Some of our guests ways that he protects this time with his family is by keeping them balanced with all their commitments this season. Being good stewards of their limited time.
Another thing they do is a service project together. Having your children experience giving of their time or resources to someone in need can bring back the true reason for the season.
After the holidays, take time to debrief and reflect. As a family and as a staff. For your staff, even taking time in November to talk about expectations that are coming up and checking in before you go into the busy season, can produce good conversations, says our guest.
Sometimes one of the costs of ministry is the lack of time with extended family, Dr. Mathes notes. Between Christmas and New Years, as much as your organization can, keep that open for rest and recreation time to have your staff recoup from the busy season.
Join us next week as we continue our discussion on the Joy of doing ministry during the Christmas season.
Special thanks to our guest Dr. Gary Mathes and masters of all things podcasting, Chris & Lauren Miller, for this first episode in our Joy of Christmas series.