This post was last updated on February 6th, 2017 at 04:18 pm.
Don’t let the holiday season sneak up on your church ministry team!
The holiday season is a sacred time for devotion and celebrations, but it can also be a very hectic and stressful time of year. This is especially true for church leaders and volunteers. In addition to family get-togethers, shopping, and baking, you also have to meet all the extra demands at the church!
For some reason our culture promotes busy-ness and labels self-care as a frivolous luxury. But when we get stressed out and over-extended, things really break down and problems come up – especially in the middle of a big project or event.
During a pre-flight safety briefing, a flight attendant advises that in an emergency, you should secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Helping others first may work in the short term, but it’s not sustainable. You can’t lend a helping hand to anyone if you’re passed out from a lack of oxygen! This analogy relates perfectly to your ministry team; you can’t effectively serve others unless you take care of yourself first.
Here are a seven steps you can take to make the holidays less stressful:
- Simplify – Make a list of holiday events and traditions you have at the church. Have the ministry team and church members work together to consciously decide which ones you really love and are worth keeping. Don’t do something because you’ve always done it!
- Delegate – This goes hand in hand with simplifying. The church doesn’t always have the time or budget to accommodate everyone’s suggestions, even if they’re great ideas. Someone wants the church to have a christmas program? Fancy holiday decorations? Ask them to volunteer their time or donate money towards the project. If something is important, they’ll find a way to make it happen.
- Organize – During the holiday season, there will be an increase of visitors and people who don’t regularly attend worship services. Have a plan to get their contact information and track donations so you can follow-up with them later and send them a contribution statement if necessary.
- Prepare – Write and schedule communication (e.g. email announcements, social media posts, bulletins) ahead of time. Even if you only make a rough draft, it will make a huge difference because you won’t be scrambling to pull everything together at the last minute. Also, start collecting pledges (if applicable) and wrapping up loose ends in your bookkeeping so your financial reports are accurate and you have everything you need to make a budget for the new year.
- Nourish – Pro-actively take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health to avoid getting sick and/or burnt out. Yes, it’s okay to indulge in a cookie or eggnog at a holiday party, but also eat veggies and drink water so your body isn’t missing vital nutrients.
- Unplug – At least once a week, completely disconnect from work to do something relaxing and fun. Schedule this time and protect it fiercely like you would anything else on your calendar. You wouldn’t flake on your dentist appointment or having dinner with your mom, right?
- Give thanks – So often we focus on what we don’t have enough of: help, time, money, sleep, etc. Take time this season to be grateful for what you do have and share that feeling with others. Tell your church staff and volunteers how much you love an appreciate them. They’re likely feeling overwhelmed, too, and kind words go a long way.
Prioritize tasks and events ahead of time, then put your to-do list on hold, even if it’s for an hour or two. The church will keep running smoothly while you take time to recharge. Your to-do list isn’t going anywhere, and you’ll be able to get through it much more efficiently when you have energy.