My name is Mike Bedford and I pastor College Park Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. In May of 2010, I as they say “hit the wall” spiritually. I was tired, worn out and spiritually dead. I had not taken a real vacation break in years. The church was doing great. We are in a Capital Campaign to raise money to purchase property for a new church and are planning on relocating our facilities.
From the outside looking in it was all good. The problem was me. I was going through the motions of being a pastor, staying busy with hospitals, meetings, preaching and visiting. My days were filled with appointments, my time was not my own. I let the ministry control me.
So, in May it came crashing down around me. I asked the church for time off to regroup and gain strength. They graciously granted my request and I took three weeks away from the church. I did various things to get my attention away from ministry. Let me tell you it took a while before I felt relaxed as a matter of fact it took me seventeen days before I could say “I am ready to return”. That is not a magic a number, it may take someone less time or maybe more time. That is what it took me.
I spent time resting, reading my bible and praying, as David says in Ps 119:25 “my soul clings to the dust, revive me according to your word”. When I am down, I read the word.
Praise the Lord for a praying, loving wife who stood along side me and encouraged me through this process. She is a true helpmate. I am grateful for a church family that was encouraging and understanding as well.
Since June, I now enjoy ministry and enjoy being a pastor. Now I take time to rest and relax. I take more time with the Lord.
I would encourage anyone who is feeling burnout to take the time away. Once you are feeling better take your day off! Rest is very important.