The Healthy Church Hub

If you’ve been in ministry for any amount of time, there’s a good chance you know that ministry never stops. Holidays, events, and seasons at your church come and go, but ministry remains.

However, this doesn’t mean church leaders shouldn’t stop either. 

Resting well, especially after big events and seasons of output (like Easter week) is crucial for longevity in ministry. However, rest isn’t something that happens by itself. It takes a plan and intentionality to rest well.

Take a look at these 5 ways church leaders fail at resting, plus some action steps you can take now to prevent burnout in the future.

Reason #1 Church Leaders Fail at Rest: Rest is a Low Priority

Let’s face it, it’s easy to put rest on the back burner because there will always be people in your church, and people always have needs.

As a church leader, it’s easy to feel like the responsibility of meeting those needs falls squarely on your shoulders. However, God didn’t call you to do this alone. 

Prioritizing rest isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessary step to take if you want to continue on in ministry. It even makes an impact on your health.

Work to off-load and delegate when possible, and work to keep everything else in perspective.

Action step: Block your calendar and make rest a high priority.

Reason #2 Church Leaders Fail at Rest: Neglecting to Make a Plan

The second reason why church leaders fail at rest is because they fail to plan. Rest doesn’t just happen. It requires planning, preparation, and commitment. 

Whether you’re a planner or not, planning to rest should become a non-negotiable part of your schedule. Ask yourself what an ideal rhythm for rest and work would be, and use that as the starting point of your plan.

Consider blocking at least one day a week to take as a day of rest.

This will look different for everyone, but prioritizing rest could look like making time to work on a hobby, go on slow walks, take a nap, and/or getting away for the day/weekend/week.

No matter what it is, commit to doing it and avoiding interruptions if at all possible.

Action step: Be intentional and make a plan for rest.

Reason #3 Church Leaders Fail at Rest: Spending a Lot of Time on Devices

As a church leader, it’s important you’re available and accessible so you can minister to the people under your care. However, this also serves as a big reason why lots of church leaders fail at resting: you’re always connected to your phone/tablet/computer/etc.

It’s hard to rest when your device is constantly going off, beckoning you to stay connected.

As part of your commitment to rest, commit to setting your device aside. Consider setting an away message that shares the phone number of another church staff member who can be reached while you’re away. 

To fully prioritize rest, it’s also important to limit social media.

While endlessly scrolling may feel restful at the moment, in reality, it’s giving your brain more and more to focus on and negatively effecting you.

Set boundaries and work to only consume and participate in social media in moderation.

Action step: Reduce your screen time and even turn off your device.

Reason #4 Church Leaders Fail at Rest: Lack of time in Scripture and Prayer

See if any of these scenarios feel familiar: 

  1. You sit down at your desk to spend time in the Word when your phone buzzes. You open your phone to check the notification and thirty minutes later you realize you missed your devotional time. 
  2. You have dedicated time in prayer on your calendar when you get notified your volunteers for kids ministry this week canceled and you don’t have anyone else to call.
  3. You find yourself staying up late each night watching television or scrolling on your phone. As a result, you snooze your alarm and mi

These are all situations that happen in real life and take time away from crucial time in the Word and prayer.

The Lord is the One who gives rest, and it’s hard to rest if you’re not spending time with Him.

Action step: As part of your plan to rest, make time in scripture and prayer a priority.

Reason #5 Church Leaders Fail at Rest: Sneaking a little bit of work in

When it comes to ministry, there are always countless things going on at any given time. Because of this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just “doing one thing.”

However, more times than not, one thing leads to another and before you know it, your rest time has become work time after all. 

The truth is, that boundaries are needed in order to rest well. Set clear boundaries so you can be focused on what fills you up which will enable to you to rest well. 

Action step: Ensure you stop working to allow yourself to fully rest.


As this Easter season draws closer, work to come up with a plan now for how you’ll rest once this busy season is over. Not only will this benefit you as a church leader, but in the long term, it will benefit your church body, too.

Don’t fail to rest this season!