by | May 11, 2023 | Alignment, Ministry Leader, Pastor, Rest, Rhythms, Work

Today we conclude our deep dive into Unshakable Leader: The Simple Yet Amazing Power of Alignment. We want to leave you with final thoughts as we unpack our final Alignment Component: Life Giving Rhythms.

Let’s start here: Great leaders cultivate great rhythms. The healthier your rhythms, the more aligned you become.

A decade ago, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrilllation (Afib). Afib occurs when the heart’s upper chambers beat out of coordination with the lower chambers. This creates an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and can cause one’s heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, with an irregular pattern. If not dealt with, this irregular rhythm increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. She required surgical intervention to fix this potentially fatal issue.

We use this example to draw a parallel illustrating this idea: The longer one’s life is out of rhythm the higher the risk of breaking down. Things out of rhythm are unhealthy. And intervention is almost always needed to fix the issue.


Here are a few examples of crucial rhythms:

Spiritual rhythms

Several weeks ago, we spent some time unpacking the power of daily moments of meaningful connection with God.  Our pursuit of God also needs to include gathering with other Christ-followers to be aligned and healthy. When it comes to our walk with Jesus, it is ideal to do so not only one-on-one with Him, but also within a faith community.

Physical rhythms

We are better able to lead when we are physically fit. Exercise, sleep, and good nutrition are part of this rhythm. The benefits of this are detailed here.

Relational rhythms

If you’re following along chronologically in our series, you know that we covered the importance of life-giving relationships extensively in our last installment here. However, it is healthy to mix in times of solitude for purposeful times of thinking, reflection, and listening to God—just as Jesus modeled.

Work/rest rhythms

We’re going to camp out on this one for a bit as we wrap up our series of posts from Unshakable Leader. How we behave when it comes to the interaction between work and rest impacts our alignment significantly. It’s not uncommon for leaders to barrel full speed ahead with little regard for implementing rest into their schedules. Functioning like this long-term is a recipe for all kinds of trouble.

Keep in mind: God Himself models this concept for us first in the Creation story. And then again in the New Testament when Jesus would retreat from ministry and crowds to spend time with His Father and rest.

We can establish a healthy work/rest rhythm by focusing on several areas or “sub-rhythms.”

  • Daily – A daily rhythm has to do with knowing when it’s time to start and stop work each day. Generally speaking, leaders have no trouble starting their workday. Most struggle with stopping—especially in a day and age where it’s nearly impossible to “shut it all off.” Research indicates that for most people, after an eight-hour workday, productivity falls off a cliff. When you get tired at the end of a solid day of work, accept that as a God-given stop signal and give yourself permission to “clock out.”
  • Weekly – The Bible refers to this rhythm as “Sabbath,” and as mentioned earlier, it is modeled by God in the Creation story in Genesis. Sabbath is the act of deliberately making room in our weekly schedule for a day of rest, relaxation, and renewal. We know how challenging this can be, so here are a few ideas to get you started on taking an unhurried weekly day off:
    • Go easy on technology. It’s so tempting to check your emails and messages on your phone—so put your phone out of reach and use it sparingly. Let calls go to voicemail Keep your laptop closed and packed away.
    • Carve out time for exercise – Make it something out of the ordinary; for example, if you usually walk the treadmill in your basement for your daily walk, make a plan to go hike some trails in a nearby state park instead.
    • Engage in emotional tank-filling activities. Read a book. Go to the movies. Whatever it is wholesome and refuels you, do it.
    • Spend time with replenishing friends. Grab coffee or a meal and do nothing but laugh and enjoy the company of your friends.
    • If you’re married, take your spouse on a date. Go shopping or out to dinner. Plan a day at the farmer’s market or watch live music in the park. Don’t just wing it . . . you’re less likely to follow through if that’s the case.
  • Quarterly – If you’ve mastered the first two sub-rhythms, this one is a bit easier. Every three months, get out of your zip code and take a day for relaxation, reflection, recreation, and rest. A quarterly day trip will refresh you.
  • Annually – This is difficult if you’re not well versed in the previous rest rhythms. Many leaders struggle to really be on vacation even when they do take one. The line between work and our personal life is blurrier than ever, especially post-pandemic. Truly disconnecting from work while you vacation is not wasted time or selfish behavior. It’s crucial to maintaining a healthy work/rest rhythm.

Work resulting in good outcomes is a gift from God.  Workaholism and laziness are perversions of that gift. They interrupt the action God has designed us to flow with. Colossians 3:23-24 sums it up beautifully, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”


So, there they are: Physical, spiritual, relational, and work/rest rhythms. These rhythms matter. Here’s why:

Jesus lived His life in a beautiful tempo of work and rest.

He demonstrated a perfect rhythm of relationships and solitude: Time praying alone with His Father, and time praying with the twelve disciples as a group. If we are Christ-followers, then it makes sense to follow Him in this example as well.

You won’t escape the negative consequences of “arrhythmia” for long. Eventually it will catch up to you in the form of fatigue, or anxiety, or depression, or burnout, or gulp—all of four of these! If that isn’t enough to get your attention, be aware we human beings are susceptible to doing incredible unwise things when we’re exhausted. When you lead tired, you hurt yourself, your family, your team, your church, etc. And you increase the risk of doing things you would never do if you were well-rested.

Healthy rhythms prepare you for success.

Getting yourself to the next level before the team, organization, or church you lead gets to its next level prepares you to withstand the strain inherent in that next level.


How can you tell if you’re out of rhythm and need to implement some changes immediately? Do you experience a sense of dread on the eve of your workweek? Increased irritability in general? Seemingly constant and endless physical ailments? Discomfort with downtime? If so, you may be out of rhythm.


Take some time to evaluate:
1. What has been disrupting your work/rest rhythms?

  1. What positive steps can you take to remedy those disruptions?
  2. Who can you be accountable to regarding your work pace?


And with this our alignment journey has come to an end. Our prayer is that you would take the five alignment components—spiritual hunger, physical fitness, psychological integration, replenishing relationships, and life-giving rhythms—and imbed them deeply into your life.

You will get healthier and be better able to reach your full potential. You will become an unshakable leader. And our families, our teams, our businesses, and our churches will be the beneficiaries.


We are rooting and praying for you,

John & Jaime