Three Firebreaks You Need This Season

downloadIf you’re like me, you’re entering one of the busy seasons of the year. Between church worship ministry, volunteer ministries, preparing for the New Year and personal and family obligations, I think we have one free evening in the next three weeks.

Busy seasons are a natural part of ministry. Much like a farmer, there are times when being in the field is absolutely crucial to the harvest.

Christmas in the church is one of those times.

In fact, according to this study, Christmas season is by far the best time to reach the unchurched. It’s the season with the most general receptivity to the church and the message of Jesus.

Combine the ripe mission with huge tradition and you’re investing hours and hours in ministry!

We probably have so many special events, opportunities, invitations and parties, there’s really no way to find balance during this season, so a better alternative is to find harmony in your schedule. You know it’s going to be a little crazy, but plan ahead. These plans create firebreaks in your schedule. Much like a weekly Sabbath helps recharge and regroup, scheduled firebreaks keep craziness from taking over.

For example, last year someone offered us a condo for a few nights at the end of the year. We looked at the schedule, rearranged some things and took off.  It was so appreciated.  Another time, I remember, right in the middle of a crazy ministry work week, realizing that we hadn’t done much together as a family, we took off the afternoon to go look for bald eagles by the river. Sometimes, these things happen naturally, but for the most part, you have to put them on your calendar.

So, Plan Some Firebreaks In Your Schedule

The definition of firebreak is “an obstacle to the spread of fire, such as a strip of open space in a forest.” Much like firebreaks help subdue raging forest fires, firebreaks on the calendar also help curb what would be insanity. They become an obstacle to the craziness that could easily consume.

Here are three firebreaks you need to plan this season.

Schedule Time For Fun

What are some of the things you love doing during this season? Watching a particular movie? Meeting with a particular group of people? Taking part in a certain tradition? Pull out your calendar and write down the block of time needed and keep it open for some fun.  It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be in the evening. If your evenings and weekends are filled with Christmas related ministry obligations, then carve out some time on Tuesday afternoons to do something fun.

Kind And Generous Moments

One great example of a firebreak is doing something where you think of yourself less. Volunteer in a ministry unrelated to your current work. Be generous to those around you in some way. Write a letter or give a gift to your circle of friends or your circle of leaders in your ministry. Plan a time on your calendar to do something kind and generous – intentionally.

New Year Planning

Do you have a new year planning time on your calendar? It can be any time around the week of the calendar change. It should include a substantial block of time to 1) look back and see what was accomplished last year, 2) focus on goals that need to be in place, 3) thinking and prayer about what God is calling you to do this year, and 4) work on vacation dates, other firm ministry obligations and dates. This time should also include prayer, thankfulness and response to God about this new calendar year of life.

Let me know what you’re planning! I would love to hear it.



There’s Always Enough Time To Do God’s Will

Squeeze Making Disciples Into Your Schedule

New Year Planning for Student Ministry

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2 thoughts on “Three Firebreaks You Need This Season”

  1. I do an annual sermon/worship planning retreat each October during the week prior to Laity Sunday. Over 3 days, I first block out vacation dates for the coming year (so I’ll know which Sundays I do not need to plan sermons for), then sketch out very basic plans for scriptures and themes for worship. Of course, these plans are always subject to change, if desired, but I have found a goodly amount of peace in knowing that I have at least a foundational starting point for the new year. I share my plans with music staff, worship committee, and anyone else who might need to know and can be part of the creative approach to worship planning.

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