Monday, March 27, 2017

7 months in Restropect: Ministry Retreat

After praying for about a day after returning from Salarom Taka I took a decision to withdraw from my two forthcoming speaking engagements one in early April and the other a 4-session Good Friday Easter weekend ministry. I had decided that I needed a break and sometimes an illness is a reminder that we could not bear the burdens of ministry like before. In retrospect I realized I had not had a decent break from ministry since being reappointed as lecturer in mid August last year. That is a long 7 months plus of non stop preaching teaching and much of it involved constant traveling to faraway places.
My two-month end of year vacation was taken up in travelling to 9 different places and preaching 22 times. Thank God for good health throughout. And there was no let up in early January when College resumed. As the Chaplain I not only have to report early for work but had to organize 5 revival meetings during orientation and preaching twice myself. Then it was full steam into the teaching semester where I had to prepare lectures afresh in John's Gospel and NT theology written and delivered in Malay. On top of that I had a weekly English class for 31 students. This March's one week holidays is meant for rest but I had to prepare for the Interior Conference where I had three sessions including preaching in the second and final night meetings. I am not giving excuses for catching a bad cold. It was an elementary mistake on my part. After a hot afternoon session still sweating I laid down to rest with the fan blowing directly into me. In less than an hour I felt the outset of flu and struggled through the last session. Returning to KK I told myself I can't continue as before and I was feeling lethargic and there was no more excitement in ministry anymore. The thought of travelling itself is already wearisome.
Perhaps these are signs of burnout but I rested for another day before calling the church leaders to withdraw from April speaking invitations. Whatever it is labeled it is ministry retreat or retreat from ministry. I can now focus on my lectures which have 5 more weeks to run before exams and the close of the Semester. I remember reading Charles Finney how when he felt dry or lethargic he would take a break and sought God's empowerment afresh until he was sure of the anointing before beginning afresh. Even Jesus told his disciples to withdraw from the crowds and retreat from active ministry. It is exactly what I am going to do over the next few weeks and enjoy the weekends without the thought of rising to the pulpits and preaching.

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