Healthy Disciple-Makers Establish the Right Boundaries for Rest

Brandon Werner - Lead Pastor | Together Church, Oklahoma City, OK

One of the hardest things to explain to people is the mental and emotional whiplash that ministry leaders endure daily.

Trying to explain that burden often sounds like complaining, but we really aren’t complaining! Honestly, we are just trying to process what we are experiencing…

  • Thoughts and plans constantly interrupted by the many people and high demands.
  • Texts and phone calls that catch us off guard, change our entire day, and take us back emotionally.
  • The constant weight of ongoing responsibilities we oversee – always something to write, a meeting to schedule, a conflict to resolve, volunteers to recruit, and people to thank.

These three examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

If you know, you know.

When it comes to caring for our souls during chaos, Jesus must be our example. I would argue that none of us are enduring the same level of intensity and craziness that Jesus endured during His ministry…, especially toward the end.

What is one practical way Jesus set healthy boundaries for rest in His ministry?

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

To be a healthy disciple-maker, you must establish healthy boundaries with your time. More specifically, you must identify times and patterns of rest.

Contrary to popular belief, resting is not the same thing as doing nothing.

Resting is something we do. We can rest poorly or rest well. Creating a boundary in ministry that allows us to be intentional about resting is essential for every healthy disciple-maker and ministry leader.

Consider three important guidelines for establishing healthy patterns of rest…

1. Prioritize rest for your body and soul.

Resting goes beyond physical rejuvenation. Jesus withdrew to pray. Exhaustion often comes from our mental and emotional condition. To truly rest, we must intentionally disconnect from high-stress activities, detach from sources that negatively impact our souls (like social media and screen time), and seek peace in God. Instead of seeing rest as “doing nothing,” start looking at rest as something you can do well. Be intentional about prioritizing rest for your body and soul.

2. Make plans to rest efficiently.

Scheduling time away isn’t the same thing as rest and it won’t stop the demands from piling up. Effective rest happens when we proactively unplug from responsibilities. Create a plan with your authorities and team to delegate important tasks during your absence. Communicate your plan and designate a primary contact to key team members. Activate a “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone, allowing only notifications from your primary contact for emergencies. Let everyone else know you will be away from your phone but can be reached in an emergency through your contact. By planning and executing this, you will find yourself resting faster and more efficiently.

3. Release yourself from the need to explain your plan to everyone.

Inevitably, someone will ask you about your availability over a period when you’ve scheduled rest. When requests arise that conflict with planned rest, you don’t need to explain your plans to everyone. Simply respond by saying, “I already have something scheduled at that time. Could we meet at _______ instead?” Propose an alternative time that works for you. Release yourself from the need to explain your plans to everyone. Some people need to be in the know, and others don’t. Respond in a loving way, but just do your part.

Action Step: Day of Rest

Using the three tips above, pull out your calendar and schedule at least one day of rest. Plan your day to prioritize resting your soul. What would that include, and what would that need to exclude? Make arrangements with a primary contact so that you can set your phone to “Do Not Disturb.” If someone asks for your time that day, respond by letting them know you already have something on your calendar and offering an alternative.

Prioritizing rest like this will make you a better disciple-maker. You’ll be better rested, more present, and have a greater capacity to love and serve others. Rest well, friends!


Brandon Werner
Lead Pastor
Together Church
Oklahoma City, OK