Why Rest Matters for Human Leaders
Candi Shelton
April 7, 2022

Humans need rest to be the people God made us to be. So as ministry leaders, why do we justify leaving it out? Learn about rest as part of your wellness, and find out what we're doing at OC22 to help you rest and reflect.

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We have lived through–

A global pandemic, 

Racial tension,

Political division,

Conflicts in foreign countries…


And not only have we lived through these things, but we have also led and served other humans through all these circumstances. 


That’s why now–possibly more than ever before–it is imperative that we as leaders connect to our own humanity and pursue wellness. 


The truth is that, although we know it’s important, church leaders often struggle with this more than anyone. Why is that? It’s because we tend to give ourselves to ministry. We pour our mind, energy, body, and soul into it. Years spent investing and prioritizing ministry to ensure its success, almost always at the expense of our own health.


We work long hours. 

And we prioritize spiritual health over mental or physical health.

We don’t take time to rest. 


Here’s what I know.

If we don’t integrate our emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health, we are setting ourselves up for failure because the whole ecosystem will suffer. 


Our Health and Wellness Ecosystem


See, we as humans are ecosystems unto ourselves. We don’t simply function inside ecosystems of ministry, church, and work, but we ourselves are ecosystems. If we don’t work to integrate all of who we are and give ourselves the care we deserve, each little corner of our ecosystem will deteriorate. Our output, our upstream, our skills and talents, and our connection to our personal values and vision all suffer as a result.


The problem is that often we don’t know this is what we are doing. Or when we do, we justify it. We use scriptures like Philippians 4:13. We cite how important the mission is and how we should sacrifice.


Many of us say things like, “I am weak, but He is strong.” 


But if we’re honest with ourselves, we can admit that we’re actually a little lifeless and a lot disconnected from what’s happening on the inside. 


And while we’re being honest… that’s not even what those verses mean! Jesus Himself lived completely differently than that. 


Jesus – the example of rest


He lived fully human. 

And He rested.

He showed empathy for others. 

And He connected with humanity at every level.

It only stands to reason that our leadership and ministry actually thrive when we are connected to the experience of being human. When we connect to our own humanity, we develop a deeper appreciation for just how beautiful life is. We enjoy laughing with friends. And we begin to see emotions as assets, not liabilities. We ease into our competencies instead of competing for positions.


Not only do we see  ourselves as humans with value, but we see other people as humans, too. Not ideologies, projects, or enemies. We are better able to connect with and care for the people we serve because we are more connected to ourselves.


And, that may seem counter-intuitive–in fact, sometimes it is. But it is not at cross purposes with our faith. Quite the contrary.


We are made in the image of God, and when we rest and take care of ourselves, we actually create space to become more connected to God. 


That’s why Jesus said to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. 

Rest and Sabbath is even the first thing in Scripture defined as holy. 


Humanity Needs Rest


God has given us one beautiful life to live. Just like the people we lead and serve are worthy of experiencing rest, compassion, and the hope of Jesus, so are we, as ministry leaders and humans. 


We are worth paying attention to. 

Us humans are worth rest.

We are worth reconnecting with our own humanity. 


That’s actually why we designed a new experience called Discovery Sessions for Orange Conference ‘22. This will be an opportunity to breathe, reflect, and reconnect with your own humanity because you are worth it. If you would like to learn more about why rest is important for ministry leaders you can listen to The Think Orange Podcast with Candi Shelton.