4 More Secrets to a Less-Stress Ministry

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Learn to say, “I’m God’s man with God’s message for this situation.”

Last week I wrote that when stress comes our way, Jesus is our best model for dealing with it. I shared about three ways to respond to stress. Here are four more –

Focus on one thing at a time – “But [Jesus] said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’” (Luke 4:43, NIV) Jesus focused on one priority at a time—despite all the interruptions that came his way.

If you try to focus on dozens of things at one time, you’ll go in a dozen different directions. It’s like light. Light has a diffused effect, but if you focus light, it becomes a laser. Light becomes very powerful when focused.

Get rid of stress by knowing what you want to accomplish and focusing on one priority at a time.

Don’t try to do it all yourself — [Jesus] appointed twelve–designating them apostles–that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” (Mark 3:14, NIV)

Stress often comes because we think the whole world depends on us. Particularly as pastors, we think, “I’ve got to do it all.” We get tense when we feel that it all depends on us. Jesus enlisted and trained 12 other people to help him out. He did his ministry with others and delegated His work.

I’m learning to let go and let other people make mistakes. That’s how we grow. That’s delegation.

Make a habit of personal prayer – “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where He prayed.” (Mark 1:35, NIV) Look at Jesus’ life. No matter how busy he got, he always made time to get alone with God on a daily basis.

Even though he was extremely busy and had a lot to do, Jesus made time for prayer. He would go away and wait on God for instructions. If Christ needed to do that, how much more do we need to get alone and let God speak to us and give us direction?

Your communion with God will recharge your spiritual batteries. Get alone with God and with your Bible and let God speak to you.

Take time off to enjoy life — “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.’ For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” (Mark 6:30-31, NIV)

When Jesus said what He did in Mark 6:30, his followers had been out working hard — night and day – and they hadn’t even had time to eat. Jesus comes to them and says, “You deserve a break today.”

Rest and recreation and relaxation are so important that God put them in the Ten Commandments—right along with “Don’t have any other gods before me” and “Don’t steal.” This means a day of rest is not optional. Our bodies were made to take rest. Taking that rest is a key to stress management.

The three principles I shared last week were

  • Know who you are.
  • Know who you’re trying to please.
  • Know what you’re trying to accomplish.

Are there any of these principles that you’re ignoring? How do you think that may be adding stress to your life and ministry?


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Rick Warren About Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

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