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Simply Refreshed

Sue Lennartson

Ministry Leadership: God needs us to be refreshed, restored, refueled, and ready to minister to children for him. Here are 25 ways to refill your cup this summer...

This is a bit ironic, isn't it? Here I am, a full-time-plus pastor writing about staying refreshed. All of us in ministry -- paid, unpaid, volunteer, or staff -- get "souled out," revved up, and passionate about everything there is to do in our churches. Working hard and going far beyond the extra mile is a lifestyle. You invest yourself wholeheartedly in what you believe.

This is all great -- our churches need passionate, enthusiastic, energy-filled people diligently working to reach children for God. And so, for the kingdom's sake, it's just as vital that those serving take good care of who they are. Ministry is demanding. It requires hard work -- sometimes much more.

God needs us to be refreshed, restored, refueled, and ready to minister to children for him. So I ask you: How are you today? Are you taking good care of yourself?

If you aren't, it's time to start. Don't be a martyr. You can't serve yourself, your family, the church, or children by working yourself into the ground. Make a point this summer to slow down, refresh, and renew. Here are 25 ways to refill your cup today.

1. Is there a park nearby? During your day, take a walk in the park or even just around your church building. Enjoy your surroundings. Find a bench or a warm rock, and soak up the sunshine.

2. Seek people who make you laugh. Connect with them. Laughter is great for the soul. It's rejuvenating.

3. Go on an adventure. Take a risk. I went dog sledding this year. Wow -- exhilarating and refreshing! Maybe for you, it's kayaking, hiking, sailing, or climbing.

4. Spend time with a spiritual mentor. Receive, rather than always giving. This alone can be hard work, but in the end, you'll be renewed.

5. Go on a picnic. Pack a basket, slip into nature, and enjoy yourself. Take in everything -- or just eat lunch.

6. You might not have time for 18 holes of golf, but you might be able to play miniature golf or a game of croquet.

7. Schedule a creative, fun lunch or coffee break. Invite rejuvenating conversation. Relax. Don't rush; take extra time.

8. Get a sketchpad and pencil. Sit outside and choose something to sketch. Draw. Don't worry about the outcome; just enjoy the experience.

9. Go for a swim. Be buoyant. Let the water support you. Enjoy the shallow and the deep.

10. Go for a brisk walk. It doesn't matter how long or short, or whether it's raining or shining. Just go, and go briskly!

11. Is there a basketball hoop nearby? Go shoot some baskets and do a few layups. Can you still make a free throw? How about a three-pointer?

12. Launch balloons or beach balls in your work area. Get a friendly game of Keep It Up going.

13. Get comfortable and close your eyes. Clear your mind and think about:

  • A fun experience you've had in life;
  • Those you love;
  • A beautiful island in the ocean;
  • Something you're looking forward to;
  • Taking a walk with Jesus.

14. Plant something. Get your hands dirty -- really dirty!

15. Get a massage. It's good for you.

16. Write a thank you note to someone who has been a positive influence in your life.

17. Write a psalm. Praise God. Listen for direction or a soothing balm of refreshment from God.

18. Listen to your favorite music. Allow it to soothe you -- or stir you.

19. Try your hand at an art project. Be an artist. Then -- no matter how it turns out -- give it to someone.

20. Stretch for 10 minutes. Jump. Jog. Get your heart rate up. Then cool down with a drink of ice water and more stretches.

21. Go to a farmer's market, an art fair, or a music festival. Soak in their wonderful offerings.

22. Put yourself in a new situation. Do something you've never done before.

  • At lunch time, volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity site. Pound nails. Help build a home.
  • Mentor a child.
  • Go fishing. Bait your own hook.
  • Try your hand at a potter's wheel.
  • Eat sushi.

23. Look at your schedule. Where can you downsize, delegate, or redirect? Eliminate something.

24. Ask someone to be your "coach," someone who'll invest in you. Ask your coach to help you focus on your mission and vision.

25. Plant yourself in a small group -- one that's real and relevant; a place where you can find confidentiality, accountability, transparency, and encouragement.

Cool Resources

Here's refreshing summer reading for you to rejuvenate in God's presence.

  • Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2 -- You'll find stories of miracles, faith, hope, forgiveness, charity, and love in this new volume; Health Communications, Inc.
  • I Saw the Lord -- Author Anne Graham Lotz helps readers revitalize their commitment to God.; Zondervan
  • Mini-Retreats for a Teacher's Heart -- Twenty-one devotions guide teachers into reflection and refreshment. Includes; Group Publishing, Inc.
  • Parable Life -- Rediscover the beauty and truth in Jesus' parables -- and learn how they affect your daily life; FaithWalk Publishing
  • Spa for the Soul -- Spiritual refreshment for women with a lasting impact; Broadman & Holman Publishers
  • Wild at Heart -- A guide to helping men rediscover what it means to be free, alive, and passionate; Thomas Nelson

Jesus Moved

Jesus is the perfect model of what it means to stay refreshed, renewed, and moving in ministry.

Jesus spent time with the 5,000, before the masses, who were looking to him, listening to his every word, and tugging at him. It was a long day. When the disciples alerted Jesus that it was time to eat, Jesus delegated the task to his disciples and also used the resources of a boy with a basket of fish and bread. Through a miracle, Jesus fed the 5,000.

But Jesus didn't spend all his time with the masses. Jesus moved.

He moved to spend time with his disciples, always fully aware of the value of his team. He'd spend time with them, equipping them, asking higher-order questions, and serving with them. But Jesus didn't spend all his time with his team. Jesus moved.

Jesus moved to be with close friends -- brunch with Mary and Martha. Time to be, to talk, time to enjoy a meal, and time to discuss life. Jesus was in relationship with people. He knew that friends are those we do life with. He understood that healthy friendships are sources for refreshment. But Jesus didn't spend all his time with friends. Jesus moved.

Jesus moved to be alone. He went to be with God -- in prayer, to listen. Jesus experienced solitude, serenity, and simplicity. After they'd been preaching, teaching, and healing, Jesus told his disciples to go to a silent place. Go and be, rest, restore, refresh. And Jesus calls out to you, his precious disciple, Rest now, be silent, listen, clear your mind. And I will whisper to you. I love you.

Jesus, in his years of ministry, demonstrated balance. He didn't heal everyone who was ill, nor feed all who were hungry, nor perform millions of miracles. He moved as he was called to do.

Why do you exist? Why are you here on this earth? Why were you created? You exist for no other reason than to be in relationship with God and to be in relationship with his people. Take good care of yourself, humble Christlike servant. You are a treasure.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights" -- Habakkuk 3:17-19.


Sue Lennartson is the pastor of women's ministries at Eagle Brook Church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject to change.

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