Holidays like Easter are often a time of high attendance and celebrating the decisions made for Christ during the services we worked so hard to implement and run. This can mean long hours and staff members missing out on time with family during the holiday.
It is important as a leader of a dedicated staff to make their spiritual and physical health a priority. Most church staff are running on high levels of adrenaline on a normal Saturday through Monday. A holiday weekend brings a frenetic adrenaline surge to make sure everything runs smoothly. After a big event like Easter, a high is always accompanied by a low and can often take a few days for staff members and volunteers in leadership roles to physically and emotionally crash and recuperate.
Wise planning involves time for preparation and time for rest and recuperation. Calendaring in a day or two of vacation post-Easter gives priority to Sabbath rest and allows time for your staff to process and regroup. It is important for your staff to see their leaders also making rest an important and essential practice. When we run on adrenaline for long periods of time instead of ministering from a place of rest, we run the risk of burn-out. We want our staff and lay leaders to minister from a place of overflow, not simply adrenaline.
This also allows them to spend unrushed time with their families. Many spouses and children miss out on traditional holiday activities or celebrate their holidays differently because their parent/spouse is not able to be present. Providing a few days off after a busy holiday season allows memories to be made without the rush and stress. It is essential that we allow our staff members to make their families a priority, so their children especially do not grow to resent the church for taking their parent away during holidays.
Church leadership has a responsibility to protect staff families and treat them with the same care and nurture as any other member. Often these staff families are expected to carry great responsibility without recognizing their high needs as well. When a pastor and the church calendar reflect Sabbath and rest for the staff not only the congregation, it will be evidenced in the growth and community of the church body. The needs of the church body will never slow down. It is easy to go straight from an intense Easter season into hours of planning and preparation for graduation and then summer events. Unless the leadership makes rest a scheduled and mandatory event, just like times for baptism, membership classes and communion, the staff will feel unspoken pressure to continue and maintain an intense schedule. When they are given the freedom and realize that rest is an expectation they can lead from a place of fullness rather than being consistently over-extended.
Many churches fail to realize this until it is too late. Unfortunately many pastors and church leaders drop out from burnout and unrealistic expectations. Making rest a priority and empowering these leaders to make time for ministering to their own families, will help you avoid becoming one of these statistics.
What is one way you can make sure your staff and their families feel cared for during the busy seasons?