3 Reasons Pastors Need Rest


As pastors, we’re on the move! We’re movers and shakers of influence by nature. That’s how we became leaders.  We have big dreams and dynamic plans. Yet, following Jesus requires that we rest.

After an intense season of ministry, Jesus offered this invitation to His disciples, “Come with me by yourselves, to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). His invitation still stands today. Rest and relaxing is to be a vital prat of our spiritual journey’s yet often pastors are reluctant. Why? Often their ego is involved. They get wrapped up in the lie that if they don’t keep moving, how will transformation happen? How will the church grow? As a result, they push harder and harder spinning their wheels in frantic activity. God’s desire for us is different. God’s heart is that Pastors will lead out of the overflow of a full heart that is well-rested, relaxed and renewed daily by Him. Why? Here are just 3 reasons and there are likely many more!

3 Reasons to Rest:

To hear God’s voice.

The Psalmist wrote, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  Without silence and stillness we cannot know the presence of God and tune our ears to hear His voice.  Author, Peter Scazzero writes, “We are still and silent in the context of our relationship with the living God. In a posture of attentiveness and surrender, we allow him and his will access to the innermost parts of our lives.” It’s far too easy in the chaos of life, for God’s voice to get silenced in the hustle. 

To quiet the addiction to hurry. 

When my husband visited, Dr. Leighton Ford, (Billy Graham’s brother-in-law) as a young pastor, Steve asked what Leighton felt was the best path way to spiritual growth. Dr. Leighton Ford answered, “ruthlessly eliminate hurry!” Those word have haunted our thinking for years. As two Type A personalities we have often become addicted to hurry and needed to pull back and re-set. Here’s the thing, hurry is addictive. We become dependent on the adrenaline rush of fast paced. Busyness begets more busyness but leaves us spiritually shallow. In order to break the cycle we have to pull away and rest. Only then are we able to find freedom from hurry.

To starve our ego from believing that we are in control.

One of the most profound parables that Jesus told was of a man who scattered seed. “Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts” (Mark 4:27). Jesus’ point is clear. The outcome of the seed’s growth is the responsibility of God. We plant. We rest. God orchestrates the result. When we dare to rest trusting God with the outcome, our lives grow deeper in trust. God is on control. We are not. This was the original reason that God instituted the sabbath. He wanted us to remember that we are not in control. We can trust Him to do the work that we cannot.  

If we fail to incorporate rest into our busy lives, we will rob our spiritual and professional journeys. God wants to work in and through us making our lives tremendously fruitful, however He needs us to cooperate coming away with Him, by ourselves to get some rest.  

Steve and Becky Harling are veteran church ministry leaders, authors and speakers.  Certified by the John Maxwell Team the Harling’s have served as Pastors both nationally and internationally.

1 Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Relationships Day by Day, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 2017), 17

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