By Clint Ellis
A lot of pastors are now working from home and find themselves overwhelmed with fear and anxiety.
At the same time, they try to navigate the uncharted waters of pastoring well in a pandemic world while simultaneously being a good spouse and parent.
To survive in ministry amid this pandemic world, we must take steps to ensure a healthy balance between work and family life.
Let me submit some essentials for maintaining a healthy work and home balance during this period.
1. Sustain your soul
This may seem like it is an unnecessary admonition, but it’s not. In a crisis, a shepherd worth their salt wants to help.
They want to check on everyone, be involved in every decision, or be present in any way that he can. The problem is we can only maintain that for a short time without spiritual replenishment.
I love a good cup of coffee. I’ll keep drinking as long as refills are available, but if I continue to refill the cup, I will eventually find the pot empty.
During this time of heightened ministry, pastors are pouring a lot of energy into others. Therefore we must replenish our spiritual reservoirs so we can continue to minister to others and be fully engaged at home.
The tyranny of the urgent will shout at you that there are not enough hours for you to minister to others if you’re taking time for your devotionals. But the opposite is true.
You must maintain a healthy diet of reading God’s Word, Scripture memory, and prayer if you want to stay spiritually healthy to serve others and your family.
2. See investments instead of interruptions
Schools are closed, extracurricular activities are canceled, and many offices have encouraged employees to work from home. Therefore, families are spending more time in the same space.
Children accustomed to dad being gone get excited about the prospect of dad being at home with them. So they’ll want to talk, share stories, ask for help with their math, etc.
Don’t see this as an obstacle or interruption; see these moments as an opportunity to be biblical (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). These are opportunities to invest in your children.
God has granted you this moment to cultivate your relationship with your kids, as well as your spouse.
Don’t waste these chances. Invest in them, and it’ll help you find balance during these unprecedented times.
3. Seek healthy ways to handle stress
Stress in large amounts can be detrimental to one’s physical and emotional health. People deal with it in a myriad of ways, not all of which are beneficial.
So put down the Oreos and oatmeal cream pies. They’re a sweet treat, but they won’t neutralize your stress. Instead, set a regular time for physical activity.
Take a walk, go for a run, or a bike ride. Those endorphins will help nullify the effects of stress in your life.
You also need to rest. Driven pastors often find sleep an inconvenience or aggravation, and yet studies show the importance of proper rest on one’s focus and ability to function well in their jobs.
Find a hobby that fills your emotional tank. Read a good novel, find a place to fish, listen to your favorite music, or work with your hands.
Find something that fills you up emotionally and do it.
4. Set boundaries
Since many pastors are working from home, this is more important than ever. Yes, certain things have to be done each week for your ministries to be successful.
There’ll be meetings, correspondence, and sermon preparation. But if you’re not careful, you can find yourself wrestling with the compulsion to work around the clock.
With the work/office borders blurred by stay-at-home orders, a minister must select times he’ll engage in work-related activities and home time.
To stay balanced in ministry, we must set these times and follow them.
5. Serve to please your Savior
Many of us struggle with people-pleasing. We want people to love us and to be pleased with our work. But this can be a motivating factor in overwork that’ll lead to burnout.
The key is knowing we’re not working for the applause of men, but the glory of God (Colossians 3:17). If we live and serve to please Him, He’ll take care of the rest.
Let me encourage you with the words of the Apostle Paul, “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9).
CLINT ELLIS (@ClintEllis) is a follower of Jesus, husband, father, pastor of Fellowship Baptist in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.