Sabbath and Mission: Essentials for Church Planters

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[tweetthis]Church planters need a healthy balance of sabbath and mission. [/tweetthis]

Church planting can be exhausting work. If we are not careful, we will burn ourselves out. Church planters need a healthy balance of sabbath and mission.

As church planters, it is very important that we allow time during each day for spiritual rest and solitude from all of the busy distractions of our ministry. The multitude of distractions of ministry will drown out the quiet voice of God within our hearts.

Our souls need to have scriptural rest in the same way that our physical bodies need rest. Throughout the Bible God promises rest to His people. The biblical word for rest literally means a resting place, a quiet place, peace, trust, and reliance. Rest is the reason why God commanded us to keep the Sabbath. Jesus said that the Sabbath was created so that man may have rest and not man for the Sabbath.

As church planters we need a healthy balance of sabbath and mission. After the disciples returned from a busy missionary journey, Jesus told them to, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31). They had been busy and Jesus knew that they needed rest for their weary souls. Spiritual burnout in ministry occurs when we don’t give ourselves time to rest from our daily routine.

We also see this illustrated in the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and heard His word, but Martha was distracted with much serving a.k.a. ministry. Jesus said that Mary had chosen the best thing because she sat at His feet and was not distracted with much serving. Resting in the Lord is the only way that we can continue to have an effective Christian ministry because our being with God must come before our doing for God.

Ideas for Keeping a Sabbath

  • Read books and articles on sabbath to help give you a theology of sabbath.
  • Take a day each week to do nothing but rest and recover from the business of ministry.
  • Take a night each week to spend a date night with your spouse.
  • Don’t be afraid to take an occasional Sunday off.
  • Take a one week prayer retreat once a year for spiritual renewal.
  • Have ministry friends and mentors keep you accountable to keep a sabbath.

You may also want to check this free ebook written by my friend, JD Walt: Sabbath Keeping: It’s About Time.

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Winfield Bevins has a passion for equipping others to spread the gospel in their own context. He serves as the Director of Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. As a seasoned practitioner, he has used his experience to train leaders from diverse backgrounds on three different continents. He frequently speaks at conferences, churches, seminaries and retreats on a variety of topics. He is the author of several books, including Plant: A Sower’s Guide to Church Planting. He and his wife Kay, have three beautiful girls Elizabeth, Anna Belle, and Caroline.

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