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EP 230 – Rhythms for Pastors with Andy Addis

Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp
EP 230 - Rhythms for Pastors with Andy Addis

We are happy to be joined in this episode by special guest, Andy Addis to discuss his book, Rhythms. Get a free digital copy of Andy Addis’ book Rhythms at this website:

You can see a video of him teaching on this book in more detail at the 2023 Replant Summit HERE.

In this episode, JimBo and Andy dive into the importance of intentional time and task management for pastors, especially those in bi-vocational ministry. Andy Addis emphasized the significance of establishing rhythms in life to move from surviving to thriving.

Annual Rhythm: Andy Addis discusses the concept of an annual rhythm, suggesting a sabbatical break every year. Ideally, pastors should take three weeks off, but even a one-week break can make a significant impact. This time is not just about rest but also includes intentional study and planning. It’s an opportunity for pastors to recharge, refocus, and prepare for the upcoming season of ministry. The annual rhythm is a deliberate step toward sustainability, ensuring pastors are not just surviving but thriving in their roles. Even if you can only take one day, Andy walks through how to make the most of that day. This is particularly important if you are a longer-tenured pastor as we have discussed before in EPISODE 215.

Regular Rhythm: Another crucial rhythm is the regular break every seven weekends, allowing pastors to step away from the pulpit and create space for personal and family time. This rhythm is essential for preventing burnout and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. By taking a weekend off regularly, pastors can experience a sense of normalcy, engage in family activities, and enjoy a break from sermon preparation. We have talked about this subject before in EPISODE 221 – Sharing the Pulpit

Weekly Rhythm: The weekly rhythm involves designating one day a week as a true Sabbath day. This day is not limited to Sundays, as pastors often find it challenging to rest on their busiest day. Andy Addis shared his practice of taking either Mondays or Fridays as his Sabbath, emphasizing the importance of having a designated day for personal rest and rejuvenation. It’s about finding what truly brings rest and joy and making it a regular part of the weekly routine.

Day Part Rhythm: Lastly, the day part rhythm encourages pastors to choose two out of three day parts (morning, afternoon, or evening) to work, leaving one for family time. This intentional approach ensures that family gets dedicated time and attention, preventing the exhaustion that comes with working non-stop. By planning family activities during specific day parts, pastors can create a healthy balance between ministry responsibilities and personal life.

Implementing these rhythms is not about perfection but about progress. Pastors can start small and gradually incorporate these practices into their lives. The goal is to move from the trap of constant busyness to a sustainable ministry that allows for rest, family time, and personal growth. By embracing intentional rhythms, pastors can model a balanced life for their congregations and lead by example in navigating the demands of ministry. Wanting to dive more into pastoral self-care? Check out EPISODE 185 with Frank Lewis.

JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp back to the hope you’re ready for the next episode today. I’ve got a special guest that has, more titles than a Stephen King novel. Andy Addis, Dr. Andy Addis is a husband.

Andy Addis: I’m Not a doctor.

JimBo Stewart: Not doctor. Uh, he is a husband, and a father, and a mega church multi site pastor, the state director of evangelism for Kansas, Nebraska, the director of rural ministries for the NAMD replant team, and author of my kids favorite book of as of late.

Andy Addis: Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Which is a book we’re not talking about. So let’s just plug that Jonas. Yes, that’s great

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, the book, John, I, I, you know, I was recently on a work trip that, had me on the road for two weeks, which is, which is longer than I normally ever would agree to. But, there were some circumstances that led to that. So one of the ways I wanted to stay connected with our kids is every night on Marco [00:01:00] Polo, I would read them a chapter of Jonas and every night they would chant back for the next chapter and I would make them wait.

And we, I completed it right before I got home. And so I think that’s going to be a new thing is as I travel, I’ll read books to my kids.

Andy Addis: What an incredible thing to to stay connected and also To get them off screen time while you’re on a screen, but still, be getting some great content that I, that warmed my heart. When you, you, you sent me a, I heard overheard a video of them chanting for chapter 11. It just made my day.

JimBo Stewart: It was great. So yeah, I definitely recommend the book Jonas, but we’re here to talk about another book that you have written called, rhythms, which, as a dyslexic, I think you could put a gun to my head and I can never properly spell the word rhythms ever. like I usually don’t even have enough of it in my head to spell the word rhythms without.

and with autocorrect, even knowing what I’m talking about, like [00:02:00] typically when I try to type the words rhythms, it just goes, yeah, this isn’t in the dictionary and I don’t even know what you’re trying to type.

Andy Addis: You’re that far off. Hey, you’re not that bad. we actually, the cover of the book, if you ever get a hand copy in your hands has rhythms like multiple times down the book. And it was two weeks into the editing process when I went, Wait a minute. And the cover every time was spelled wrong. It was the, the artist had done exactly what you’re talking about.

They were missing an H, but I didn’t even notice for, like I said, two weeks of the process. It was funny when we finally caught it. So you’re not alone, brother. You’re not alone.

JimBo Stewart: I’m glad you got that caught before it was published. Hey, this fits perfectly into we’ve been talking on the bootcamp lately about, Understanding the realities of bivocational ministry. kind of surveying the landscape of it, trying to listen to the field and learn what’s going on and highlight some things.

And one of the things that we have highlighted is bivocational pastors, you know, the two things they need more of are money and time. Right? and uh, what we’re going to talk about today won’t [00:03:00] give you more of either of those things, but maybe help you make the most of at least one of those things. and that, that’s your time.

am a firm believer that bivocational pastors have to be advocates of, strong time and task management. And, you should really, you’ve got to be organized in your thoughts and make the most of the time that you have. And, this, this book, Rhythms, is maybe not as much about managing tasks as it is managing your, your time and the rhythms of your life.

And, I know that this is not just for bivocational pastors. I think there’s a real need for all pastors to consider something like this.

Andy Addis: Absolutely. You know, the, the truth is there’s two words. or two thoughts that need to be remembered, especially if you’re a bivo covo guy. And the first one is intentionality. no one’s drawn lines for you. The church will grind you into dust and thank you for your service and not even know they were doing it.

I mean, we don’t blame them. They’re, they’re not a machine that’s out to get you, but it is a machine that if you don’t draw lines for [00:04:00] yourself, for you and your family. No one’s going to draw those lines for you. And these lines are intentional and it’s not just about you surviving, but thriving and also being a model for this sin sick hurried world on how we actually have real rhythms.

But the other is this, there is a reality. If you’re working three jobs and you’re pastoring and you got family and you’re coaching, there are some things that. are just never going to happen. the way that idealically, idyllically we would want them to happen. So we, I have, this is a mantra. Something is better than nothing.

Drawing those lines and taking back some ground and creating some rhythms, even if you can’t do everything the way you want it to. Begin the process and let God start shaping those things. So yeah, I love it. You know, we, I’m out here in the middle of rural Kansas and 95 percent of my friends and colleagues are, Bible covo guys and there is no such thing as part time ministry.

There just isn’t. but you have to work twice as hard to draw those lines and protect yourself and family and ministry.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, so I mean I think that [00:05:00] covers pragmatically there’s there is absolutely a need for this every single bivo covo guy I’ve talked to and even guys who aren’t bivo covo struggle with exhaust exhaustion time management making sure things are Being where they need to be to talk about balance and not being able to balance all these sorts of things obviously there is a strong need for this, but it’s not just a This is not just a pragmatic response. there’s some theological framework that you talk about.

Andy Addis: Yeah. You know, and before we jump into that, you said something, it reminded me if I could steal a moment back on just making sure we understand that we’re all there. There’s some language that we use and that language that we use kind of reveals something. So like we say things like, well, I’m just trying to get some work life balance.

Well, first of all, No one’s that good, especially in ministry, because if you’ve got all your plates spinning, then somebody throws a funeral at you and they all come crashing down. Or if we say something along the lines of, well, this is [00:06:00] just a season, how many times have we heard somebody say that? I’m just going through a season.

Do you know what that means? Nothing. That’s, that means we have no idea when things are going to get better. It’s winter in Narnia and the witch is in control. and so we say these things as waste, but the worst is when you tell your family that, you know, I’m the pastor. Or this is what God’s called me to and the problem is when you throw the God card down You make it impossible for people to love you.

Well, because they can’t argue with you and Jesus and when we use that as a way to defend hurried busied difficult schedules that it’s just a giveaway that we’re all in and everybody in ministry falls into this trap from time to time. And that’s, those things are revealers. If you’ve ever heard yourself say things like nothing happens without hard work, we got to give it all.

It’s my responsibility. Those things are code words for. a weight that, that is really too much to bear from time to time. And it’s because of what you just said, we’re [00:07:00] not obeying some of the most basic principles. Is it okay if I go into this now, Jimbo?

Uh, you had led down this road.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah.

Andy Addis: I want to make sure that before I reveal this, that.

It doesn’t in your mind, you’re going to go, okay, so I’m supposed to take a day off every week because it’s a Sabbath day. Well, it’s kind of like what a pastor tells the congregation, you should read your Bible and pray. And everybody’s like, you tell us that all the time. Well, if you’d start doing it, the reality is that this is the model for it, but not the totality of it.

So in Genesis chapter two, God establishes a rhythm. He says he finished the work in six days on the seventh day. He rested. Now there’s a difference between you and God. And the primary difference is that he finished his work. And if you ever finished anything in ministry, that’s, that’s just no, I mean, if you make it all the way through to a wedding and you get done, all of a sudden you realize, Oh, now they’re married.

The trouble has just begun. We get a lot of work to do

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. You know, uh, Daniel M and his book, no silver bullets. It’s a book about

discipleship. And he says this phrase that I just love,[00:08:00] discipleship is, directional, not destinational. Meaning that you know, the, the problem with like, The 401 model of discipleship is it seems to unintentionally communicate that 401 is the finish line.

And you, you know, you got there, you’re done. You did it 401. Well, I completed that 25 years ago. So I’ve been discipled and a discipleship is not destined. There’s not a point in which you arrive. It’s just heading in the right direction and ministry as a whole. Is directional, not destinational. It there, that’s why there we’re never finished.

We’re never finished because none of us are ever completely like Jesus. and so until we all are exactly like Jesus, which doesn’t happen right until we get to heaven, it’s directional. We’re constantly moving in a direction, so we never get to actually hit the finish line until we’re buried.

Andy Addis: and after reading that book, we actually changed our language from, kind of a, uh, a mountain motif, get to the top, like you were talking about, like you achieved to [00:09:00] the discipleship is. Point yourself towards Jesus and take a step because that’s discipleship for the rest of your life Orient yourself towards Jesus and take a step because you never get done and God finished but you didn’t but God rested He also wasn’t tired, but you are tired whether you know that or not So the the impetus for this is Genesis 2 God modeled it, but I find this amazing By Exodus 20.

It’s now a command. Why? Because even though he modeled it, we didn’t do it. And so now it’s on the list. And I find it amazing that pastors will be disqualified for breaking commandments like number six, don’t murder number seven, do not commit adultery. that you are, you you’re in trouble. If you get caught lying, number nine.

But you do realize that the fourth commandment is remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. You say, well, it’s not that big a deal. It’s on the top 10 list. It really is. And so the impetus for understanding these rhythms is that God modeled it. Then he [00:10:00] commanded it. And then finally in Mark chapter two, 27 and 28, Jesus redefines it and he redefines it beautifully.

He says the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. And that to me communicates that you may love preaching and love being in the house of God, but if you’re a preacher. If you’re a pastor, if you’re a minister, your Sabbath is not Sunday, because that is you pouring out for others. It may feel good and you may like it, but there has to be a day in which you rest.

The word blessed in the Genesis passage and the word blessed in the Exodus passage are Barak. It means he, he gave you six days to work and then gave you one blessed day. And the word blessed, Barak, means rest. poured strength into. There has to be a day that you have strength poured into you. And, and that day is made for you.

Now that can be, it’s probably gonna be different for you Jimbo than it is for me. You’re a foodie. and I, my favorite food is ready. So you, you know what I mean? If it’s in a styrofoam box in the fridge, that’s my favorite food that day. [00:11:00] Yours may be, I’m going to go out to this place I saw on Yelp.

And this is going to be so that day, whatever that day is for you for rest and relaxation and rejuvenation, pour strength into. It’s going to be different, but you have to take it, you have to consecrate it, make it holy. And it’s not just about that day, but then that gives us a pattern where we see that God wants regular rhythms of renewal for us.

JimBo Stewart: You know, I know most pastors are tired, whether they admit it or not, because they will admit it when you ask them this, you’ll say, well, Hey, pastor, how are things going? How you doing? And nine times out of 10, the response that I get is either busy. like that’s, that’s the response. That’s what they say, right?

It’s, you know, I always notice patterns and behavior. That’s one of the patterns I’ve noticed. It’s, it’s like when you go to Walmart, I’ve learned if you want to know what time someone that works at Walmart gets off work, all you have to do is say, how’s your day going? Cause their answer is going to be, it’ll be better at whatever time they get off work.

Right. And

Andy Addis: You’re totally right. I’ve heard that a thousand times. I’d never noticed [00:12:00] that though. They always say, well, I get off in four hours.

JimBo Stewart: And the same way with pastors, if you just go, man, how’s it going? Oh man, I’m tired. Oh man, I’m, I’m so busy. and so, you know, I think you, you’ve established, obviously there’s a need. Obviously we would love to have good rhythms. there, there’s the theological impetus that we, we have to figure out rhythms of rest and refreshing.

And have strength poured into us. So what does that, what does that look like? And so let me just one, I’m going to ask Andy to break down what that looks like for us, but listener, this is not, this podcast is not enough information. so a couple of next steps we’re going to give you in the show notes.

 One, I’m going to link, Andy had this, if you were at the Replant Summit 2023 in August, at NAMM, he did a talk on this, I will give a link to that talk, which will go a little more into this, but even that still isn’t quite enough, and so then we will also give a link to where you can get the book, where you can really dive into that.

Andy Addis: Yeah. And we’ll make sure that you can get a digital copy immediately. [00:13:00] Or if you’re a print guy, you can order one of those too. We just want to make sure you’re resourced. but what Jimbo’s talking about here, just scratching the surface, you know, I personally can go back to a period of time in which, I pulled over in a parking lot, cried snot bubbles on my steering wheel and thought I couldn’t do the same or simply because of the weight of ministry.

JimBo Stewart: Well, let me just say that I’ve heard you tell that part. You talk about that when you were at the summit and just to clarify, it was a good season of ministry, right? It was a, like things were going great and like in every metric and every way things were moving in the right direction. Like you hadn’t hit a destination, but man, by all accounts, it looked like everything was moving in the correct direction.

And that’s when you pulled over in a parking lot and had snot bubbles.

Andy Addis: Yeah, we were seven years into a revitalization of a dying neighborhood church that was at that point running now six locations and more than a thousand fifteen hundred people every weekend. I was the youngest president of the state [00:14:00] convention. we were actually being flown places so we could tell our story, but the truth is we were so dumb.

We didn’t know what our story was back then. but things were great and literally pulled over cried snot bubbles because I just knew that the pace that I had, even though everything was great. The pace was going to kill us that, that I’m going to drop the ball. I’m going to crush my family.

Something’s not right. And, and it was out of that, that through a little bit of trial and error, we developed these four things, our personality, my wife just prayed over me. before I took the stage at Midwest leadership summit to teach these principles, and this was her prayer. Thank God that you get, you’ve given Andy permission to share these things that saved our life.

And when your wife praise that, that was validation to me that so, so these four things coming out of that season, it was all good, but it was still going to kill you. And how much more so is that pressure when things aren’t good, right? The, the weight of the emotional weights even more. [00:15:00] So four areas that we established using the fact that they’re, that God calls us to this rhythm of rest, this kind of like a heartbeat every seven days, uh, he wants you to have a Sabbath, but, but how do we extrapolate that out?

First of all, We have what we call an annual rhythm. Now I would, I would never suggest anybody tries to apply all four of these at once. It’s kind of like going to conference, hearing a bunch of great ideas and then going home and getting fired because you try and do. everything all at once,


JimBo Stewart: that’s a good disclaimer.

Andy Addis: so so one of these, areas will probably really speak to you and we’ll just cover them 30, 000 foot level.

The annual rhythm is an annual sabbatical. Ideally, I take, if you can, three weeks, you say you want me to ask the church for three weeks of vacation. This is not vacation. This is three weeks of intentionally working at the church to get your heart and mind and soul ready for the next season of ministry.

So, you say, I can’t do three weeks. What if you could do one week? It’s two days, two days, two days, and a Sabbath day, because we break it into these three parts. What if you can only get one [00:16:00]day? Morning, afternoon, evening, and then rest that night. our principle for Kovo Bivo guys is be intentional, but something’s better than nothing.

You know start somewhere and do this. So what is this annual sabbatical three elements? One week of rest now take a family vacation But if you’ve ever been on a family vacation, here’s what, you know, it is anything but restful. It is, you know, heading to Wally world in the family truckster and, in its great memories.

And we’re thankful for it. But how many of you know, when you get back from that, you need a nap in that, right? Right. So what is rest? I’ll tell you for me, Jimbo, you get ready. Tell me what’s rest for you. For me, rest headphones in book on lap feet in the pool. That is rest. If I’m going to, I’m going to read something, I’m going to listen to a podcast.

I’m just going to enjoy without a schedule or a meeting or a call, man, that’s rest for me. So for you, what’s, what would be an example of getting away and actually resting for a couple of years?

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, for me, resting for a couple days is being with people. I [00:17:00] enjoy, like, and not, you know, not, I’m a strategy guy. So, you know, I’m always talking strategy and, and, and thinking through things. So, so actually just sitting and just spending time hearing more about people’s lives and sharing what’s going on in my life and spending time in Uh, just enjoying the company of people that I love.

Andy Addis: So around the table, maybe around the disc golf, just, But, but hearing those stories. So, so spend some time and rest. Then the second part is study, but it’s not study like, You know what? I’ve always wanted to, I’m gonna figure out the Calvin Arminian debate. First of all, you’re not, and second of all, that is not the kind of rest or not the kind of study.

I remember hearing from Ben Mandrell at a conference a few years ago. He said the reason pastors don’t have friends is they’re not interesting because they don’t have interest. All they do is talk to other people about theology and church. And so that’s where they put you in a box. So you need to study something like for me, I spent, if you come to my house right now, I got a prepper closet.

I know that sounds [00:18:00] weird, but I spent one of my rest of my study periods studying how to be a prepper. I got food stores. I got a gun locker. I got bug out bags and I don’t believe it’s going to happen, but if it does, I’m ready, you understand? And there, there, this summer, my study is dedicated to something I’ve always wanted to do.

I’m going to learn how to take the safety course and drive a motorcycle. then I’m going to join the CMA. What that does is it increases your interest level. It gives you a whole new vein of places that you can, um, draw, evangelism experiences and illustration. And it just broadens who you are. So your, your annual break includes rest study.

And then here’s the best part planning. You actually step back in, but if you need a whole time period to plan a capital campaign, if you need time period to revamp your discipleship, for me, it’s about putting the annual calendar together and then you jump back in, you’re still not going to meetings.

You’re still. out, but you’re intentionally doing that. It’s a great rhythm. And again, if you can get three weeks, one week each, or you get one [00:19:00] week, two days each, or you get one day, one day part each, it’s better to start somewhere. So that’s the first rhythm, the annual rhythm. Then we have, probably the most unique part.

We call it regular rhythm. And just imagine this one weekend out of ever after every seven weekends. You’re out of the pulpit. You still work that week, but you take that weekend off. First of all, if you say there’s no way I can do that, you already got a problem because you either think too much of yourself or you haven’t developed other people, but we got to get that fixed.

if you don’t get out of the pulpit, how are you ever going to expect anybody to step up into it when you’re, so this rhythm is absolutely essential because it’s a rhythm that creates space for you to call out the cold. It gives you a break. Imagine one time every other month your family was normal, you could go with your wife to visit her mom, you could go to a ball game with the kids, you could sleep in and watch church online like the rest of the godless heathens out there, and, and, and just be a little normal, but, also, [00:20:00] This is fantastic.

What if every seven weeks you had one week that you weren’t doing sermon prep, all that stuff that you never had time for, you just created margin to get done. Now, I can’t sell you enough on this. And I would just say this, we have staff members who’ve been wooed away by other churches who decided not to go because they couldn’t get this benefit.

this is this life giving my kids. I’ll tell one anecdotal story. The very first time we did this, I came home. My grade school boys asked, what are we doing? I said, we’ll get ready. We’re going to go somewhere this weekend. Why? What are we doing? I said, I got the weekend off. What do you want to do?

They said, we want to go to worlds of fun. And where we’re at, that’s a big theme park. And so we, man, we packed bags and we drove got a cheap motel and we went to worlds of fun. And we’re standing in line for the fury of the Nile, which is one of those big inner tube boats, right? And they slosh you around and it was taking forever to get on the line.

And so my oldest son is 11 and he looked at me and he goes, what are we doing again? Did you get fired? Like [00:21:00] I did not get fired. and I explained to him, I said, every seven weeks we’re going to, and he stopped me, goes, say that again. I said, every seven weeks, we’re going to get the weekend off. And his facial expressions never changed, but tears started flowing down his face. And I remember thinking, man, it’s a little late, but at least she got there dad. And because there were pretty girls in the line, I kind of sheltered him. And that 11 year old boy just sobbed into my chest on the line for the fury of the Nile, because he knew that he got his dad back one weekend, every other month.

And he just couldn’t believe that rhythm. And so now my boys are grown. They have their own families, but every October. They still call me and want to know what my sabbatic schedule is so that they know when I’m available and when we can do stuff together. So that’s regular. The, the next two, pretty simple.

the weekly, you need to have one day a week that you absolutely can make a Sabbath day for you. And I’m telling you, it can’t be Sunday. For me, I take Mondays and Fridays [00:22:00] because I only get one of those. But if you take Monday, you’re probably going to have to mess it up, right? There’s a funeral, there’s a meeting.

So I take Friday, but if I get Monday, then I work Friday, but I plan accordingly. You have to, you have to make yourself a backup plan. What do you do on those days? Whatever you do on that day that when you’re done, you go, I can’t wait for the next one. That’s a Sabbath that was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, right?

It’s a rhythm where you go, I can work hard six days because that seventh day is great and we’re almost out of time. So the last one is a day part. My mentor Chuck Stecker taught me this, that you only get to work two out of three day parts, morning, afternoon, or evening. But if you work all three, You’re going to burn yourself and your family out.

Your family gets one of those and you decide that not way down the line, but every morning when you get up, what part does my family get today? And if I had more time, if you check out those resources, you’ll hear another story about how Wednesdays actually Wednesdays with midweek services [00:23:00] became the favorite day of the week for our family because we did day parts, right?

Establishing rhythms. You draw the lines, you model this for your church and, and you take your ministry from surviving to thriving. That’s the goal.

JimBo Stewart: I think that’s so good. I appreciate you taking the time to share all that. I think one of the things I always try to strive for and help people strive for is sustainable ministry, rather than just successful. Because I feel like sometimes success can happens in like these little bursts of energy and, and then it’s like a firework and it’s gone.

and we burn out where sustainable kind of the long haul is what we can do. and so, you know, you talk about sharing the pulpit a couple of. Just things to point to, episode 221, we talked about the importance of and some practicalities of how to share your pulpit, why you should do it, and some ways to think about that in episode 221.

You talk about last thing I decided was fun. You talk about, learn, taking time to learn something that’s where, you know, that I’ve gotten real nerdy about disc golf because it’s the thing I’ve decided to just start learning, and diving into. [00:24:00] one of my favorite examples of this and I’ll close with this.

Do you know who Bob Thune is? He wrote like gospel centered life and gospel eldership and you know all these kind of very heady theological things one of my favorite articles on his website Is heavy metal music a rough timeline? And, he, on a, on a sabbatical, he decided to research and write, a pretty thoughtful article on a timeline of heavy metal music.

So I’ll leave that with you.

Andy Addis: I think it’s amazing. Yeah. Do that other thing. It gives you a whole new world and it actually decreases your loneliness quotient because you got a new tribe you can hang out with.

JimBo Stewart: That’s good.

Andy Addis, balance, family, rhythms, Rhythms of Ministry, sabbath, sabbitcal, spiritual health, Time management, work

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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