Recently on Twitter I asked what were some of your church pet peeves. I wasn’t expecting as much feedback as I got, and so I eventually compiled most of the comments into a blog post. One of the pet peeves in particular seemed to me like it needed more exploring:
“Pastors who guard their Sabbath but expect volunteers to serve on theirs”
Honestly, this one caught me a little off guard. I personally had never explored that topic or had ever heard any leader talk about the biblical basis for or the guidelines for volunteering on the Sabbath. I believe Craig Groeshel’s newest book “Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working” touches on the principles of rest and the Sabbath and I look forward to reading it and applying some of his insights to this topic.
Also, here is a list of resources from the Gospel Coalition on The Sabbath. Plenty of stuff to wade through, but I particularly recommend this sermon from Timothy Keller. He discusses 2 inner disciplines of the Sabbath:
1. The Sabbath is an act of liberation
2. The Sabbath is an act of trust
And 5 external disciplines of the Sabbath:
1. Take more Sabbath time
2. Balance your Sabbath time (avocational time, contemplative time, and inactive time)
3. Be accountable for Sabbath time
4. Inject Sabbath time into your work
5. Brainstorm within community (how can we keep from being overwhelmed by work)
So let’s practice discipline #5 in regards to the original question – What are the guidelines for volunteering on the Sabbath? Initially I think it’s pretty clear that Jesus models serving others and doing good on the Sabbath. (John 5, Mark 3, Luke 6) But is there a point where volunteering on the Sabbath can be too much work and keep people from resting and recreating? If you are a pastor or church leader what are you teaching people on this? If you volunteer on the Sabbath, what are the biblical principles that guide you?