The founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, pastor Pete Scazzaro said he knew that an 80-hour work week with no rest was one of the issues holding his church back, in the past, from experiencing change for the better.
At this year’s Movement Day leadership conference held last week in New York City, one of the tracks, hosted by Scazzaor, addressed the issue of burnout and focused on helping pastors find healthy rhythms to sustain church planting.
“I’ve yet to meet a pastor whose life is balanced, rhythmic, whole, centered, anchored who is not practicing Sabbath,” said Scazzaro to those in attendance for the Track. “I’m talking about globally.”
The track featured eight speakers and emphasized the importance of Sabbath rest.
After describing his experiences with planting multicultural churches for the past eight years in New York City and how he experienced the difficulty of not seeing those in his congregation grow internally, Scazzaor said he knew something had to change.
He outlined some strong principals for church planters to keep in mind for their “inner life” with one of them including the practice of delighting in the Sabbath.
Scazzaor explained how a true Sabbath is more than just a day off and described it as a “spiritual formation discipline.” Stopping for a 24-hour period each week is necessary for the believer and should not be viewed as a legalistic practice, according to Scazzero. He compared it to scripture reading and praying as all of these disciplines are necessary for growth as a Christian.
He used scripture to illustrate how Sabbath also solidifies one’s identity as one of God’s people by discussing how the story of the Israelites being handed down this commandment after being freed from slavery in Egypt.
“In Deuteronomy, Moses [discussed] that in Egypt [the Israelites] worked 400 years without a day off. [Their] whole identity was in work and what [they] produced. In fact as a slave, you weren’t producing, you weren’t fit to live,” he said. “But God says no I saved you by grace and now your life is not about your work. It’s about me. It’s about resting in the Gospel.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post