5 Ways to Relax When You're Overworked

As ministry leaders, we approach each day with passion because we’re working for God, and our mission is literally to see the world saved. But the fact is, there will always be more work to do in ministry, and that’s why we must deliberately take time away from work.

God did it, resting one day after working six, so why should we think the world will fall apart if we aren’t on the job 24/7?

Here are five steps you can take toward recovery from ministry workaholism.

R – Readjust Your Values

The costs of workaholism are enormous: divorce, alcohol abuse, heart attacks and other illnesses, fragmented and fractured relationships, unhappiness, and loneliness.

Ask yourself these questions:

Why am I working so hard? Do a motive check. What drives you to do this? Are you trying to prove something?

Is the payoff worth it? Why do you keep fighting to get to the next level? What can you realistically expect? Is it worth sacrificing your life for it?

Your life is too important to waste on second-class causes. Readjust your values.

Ecclesiastes 5:15 says, “In spite of all our work there is nothing we can take with…

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by Bryan E. Crute

February is designated as a time of celebration and reflection, a time designated as Black History Month. But as our nation continues to be divided along racial, religious, socioeconomic, and a host of other divisive fault lines that constantly threaten to create relationship quakes of epic proportions, I am reminded of my childhood.

I experienced overt racism growing up in a small country town of about 3,000 people. Epithets, dripping with anger and ignorance, were hurled at me on a regular basis and cut me to my core. The old idiom “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” just wasn’t true. Being rejected and isolated solely because of my skin color often left me feeling alone and lonely. Why would some of my white friends treat me differently when they were with their parents than when we were in the classroom? It was very confusing for me.

My dad and mom took my siblings and me to Sunday school and church every Sunday. They kept Jesus’ example of love and forgiveness before us, along with their support and love. This laid a foundation for…

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Meeshias Story

by Meeshia H.

As I folded a new basket of clothes, I would work on one article of clothing and glance back at the television. I would go back to another article of clothing and then glance at the TV again. I was watching the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar given by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

My heart and mind continued to go through many different reactions: horror, anger, and sorrow. My heart wept for those women. As Judge Aquilina handed down her sentence of 40 to 175 years in prison, my heart leaped in my chest. Now he pays the price for the abuse he has done! Now these beautiful ladies can rest knowing he will pay the price!

But as soon as the celebration of justice was delivered, I heard this haunting question rise to the top of my emotions: “What of the thousands of sexual assault victims who never receive justice? What of the victims who will never lift their voices to stand on the #MeToo platform or have their case presented in front of a judge? How will they ever heal?”

I, too, have been that woman…

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Small Groups

The designation “active member,” in most churches, simply means those who attend regularly and financially support the church. Not much more is expected. But God has far greater expectations for every Christian.

God expects every Christian to use their gifts and talents in ministry. If we can ever awaken and unleash the massive talent, resources, creativity, and energy found in the typical local church, Christianity will explode with growth at an unprecedented rate.

I believe that the greatest need in evangelical churches is the release of members for ministry. A healthy pastor nurtures a healthy church by creating an intentional, well-planned system for uncovering, mobilizing, and supporting the giftedness of its members. People must be given a simple process to follow that will lead them to deeper commitment and greater service for Christ. They need a track on which they can move forward.

At Saddleback, we use the CLASS system to accomplish this. We offer four separate classes, all designed to move people forward incrementally in their commitment level to Jesus and to the church.

  • In Class 101, we move people into membership.
  • In Class 201, we teach members how to be spiritually mature.
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Colorful

God intentionally created everyone to be unique. And when we appreciate the uniqueness that we see in others, we truly honor the creative work of God around us. The world is a work of art, full of color and full of diversity.

Nobody looks quite like you look. You’re not one in a million; you’re one in 7 billion! And if you have a problem with people who are different from you, you really have a problem with God. Racism is essentially believing that God should have made everyone else to be just like you.

First Corinthians 15:38-40 says, “God gives everything the kind of body he wants it to have. People, animals, birds, and fish are each made of flesh, but none of them are alike. Everything in the heavens has a body, and so does everything on earth. But each one is very different from all the others” (CEV). That’s intentionality.

Then the Bible says, in Acts 17:26, “From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be” (CEV).

We all ultimately descended from two mutual parents, Adam and Eve. Our unity was fractured by sin…

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Walking Together as a Group

We may attract attenders through preaching, but disciples are made in small groups.

When you’re leading a campaign, like 40 Days of Prayer, or anytime in the future as you lead your congregation toward a deeper relationship with Jesus, you’ll want to explain to your members why small groups are so important to spiritual growth and why they are more than just a Bible study.

Small groups provide the kind of accountability and support we need to mature as believers, so I want to give you four reasons why they are important to your congregation.

1. Small groups are relational.

You can’t have a conversation with 600 people or 60 people, but you can have a conversation with six people. Generally, when there are more than 10 in a group, people stop talking. It is impossible to learn how to love your neighbor as yourself unless you are involved in a small group of some kind. You don’t need a lot of friends in life, but you do need a few good ones, and you find those solid, supportive friendships in small groups.

Sometimes I hear people say they don’t…

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If God allowed you to baptize hundreds of new believers, add hundreds of new members, and increase your average attendance by thousands in just 40 days, would you call that a revival?

If, during those same 40 days, God prompted people in your church who were previously uninvolved to start serving in ministry, and caused others to commit to a world missions project, what would you call that? An awakening?

What term would you use if God led your members to become so concerned for their spiritually lost friends that they convinced their neighbors to study the Bible for six weeks in one of thousands of small groups meeting in homes around your city? A miracle?

Well, whatever you call it, all this has actually happened at Saddleback Church during the various campaigns we’ve conducted over the years, and we stand in awe at what God has done. And God has repeatedly worked through campaigns hosted by thousands of churches around the world in similar ways.

Untold thousands have come to Christ and have been baptized, welcomed into church membership, connected to a small group or Sunday School class, taught the meaning of real worship and fellowship, equipped for ministry, and then…

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Dreaming

Everybody needs a dream. In fact, God wired you to dream dreams, and from Joseph to Daniel to Peter, the Bible is filled with stories of God giving his people great dreams.

Whenever you first got involved in ministry, you probably started with a big dream. Unfortunately, as you get into that ministry, your dreams can shrink to the size of the situation.

If you’re going to be involved in ministry, you’ve got to continue to be a dreamer. You’ve got to have faith in what God can do through your ministry. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). Faith begins with catching a dream, a vision.

When I started Saddleback, I started with a dream. In fact, at the very first Saddleback trial service, I shared that dream with the 60 people in the room. I shared a bold dream that day—a dream of a church of 20,000 people ministering in Orange County and around the world, a dream of a campus that would be a refuge for the hurting, depressed, frustrated, and confused in our community, and a dream of sharing the Good News with…

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High achievers usually have one obvious thing in common: personal discipline.

Successful people are willing to do things that most people are unwilling to do.

As the pastor of Saddleback Church, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some of Orange County’s most successful business leaders. I’ve observed that successful people express self-discipline in six key ways:

1. Successful people master their moods.

They live by their commitments, not their emotions. People who do the right thing even when they don’t feel like it accomplish most of what gets done in the world!

“A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls” Proverbs 25:28 (TLB).

2. Successful people watch their words.

They put their minds in gear before opening their mouths.

“He who guards his lips guards his life” Proverbs 13:3 (NIV).

3. Successful people restrain their reactions.

How much can you take before you lose your cool? Unfortunately, a lot of potential influence can be cut short by a short temper.

“If you are sensible, you will control your temper. When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore it” Proverbs 19:11 (GNT).

4. Successful people stick to their schedule.

If you don’t determine how you will spend your…

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Rebels

By Brian Raynor

Hello, my name is Brian. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and I struggle with alcohol and drugs.

As a young child, life for me was pretty normal. My mom stayed home and my dad bought wrecked cars, fixed them, and sold them. It was fun, as a little kid, having a garage behind our house. I could go down to the shop, hang out, and watch my dad work. I started helping him out, and I was good at working on cars. Just like my dad.

A few years went by and car sales were not going well. My dad was a perfectionist and would invest more time and money in the cars than they were worth. The business was bleeding money, and he ended up going through his entire life savings. All this stress made my dad an angry and uptight person. I was with him every single day working, and as I got older I was expected to work and help with the cars. The work I did never seemed to be good enough or right for him, no matter how hard I tried. All my…

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First Time at Celebrate Recovery

By Mac Owen, National Director, Celebrate Recovery

I’ll never forget the big, 6-foot-4 shell of a man who walked into Celebrate Recovery one cold winter night. He had a bodyguard on either side of him. Actually, they were two friends who brought him to a place where he could find help, and they weren’t going to let him escape. He had an expression of pain and sadness on his face. There was no mistaking that much of his life’s plans had gone badly.

They brought him to Newcomers 101 that night so he could hear about the program. About halfway through my explaining what Celebrate Recovery was all about, he raised his hand said, “Can I ask a question?” “Sure, go ahead” I replied. “Why are you smiling so much? I don’t have anything to smile about.” I responded, “Well, hopefully, that will change. Please keep coming back for at least six weeks. See if things might just start to get better. We always have a misery-back guarantee.”

He liked that and said, “You’re on; I will be back for six weeks. But really I don’t see how anything can…

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Celebrate Recovery

I believe great churches are built by broken people, ministering to other broken people.

Brokenness is a willingness to abandon our pride, our pretensions, and our self-righteous posturing. And it is the prerequisite to God’s blessing on our lives and our congregations.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV).

When we reach the end of our rope and give up our self-sufficiency, that’s when God moves into our lives with healing and growth.

Sin is addicting, and “all have sinned.” That means we’ve all created ungodly and unhealthy methods for handling life, so every church needs to have some form of a recovery ministry.

Not one of us is untainted, and because of sin, we’ve all hurt ourselves, we’ve all hurt other people, and others have hurt us. Each of us needs repentance and recovery in order to live our lives the way God intended.

At Saddleback, we’ve watched the miracle of Celebrate Recovery develop and expand to reach most of the nations of the world in the last few decades. It has touched hundreds of thousands of lives and continues to expand.

I believe the success of…

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