Giving the Gift of Rest, by Jennifer Holley

The gift of giving volunteers a month of rest

Does rest really matter? Jennifer Holley explains how a Sabbath month revived her passion for serving with Vista Kids.

When I was initially asked to fill a leadership role as a Coach in Vista Kids, I felt honored and validated. Someone had finally noticed how much I enjoyed service, working with kids, and helping others.  I wanted to be a positive influence and encourage others to be kind, show love, and teach children about GOD in a fun way and space.

I genuinely cared for the volunteers on my team. It took effort and intentionality to reach out to volunteers, find subs, and tend to any concerns or prayer requests. Initially, I felt like I was up for the task, however, after a while coaching seemed to get harder and feel more like a job. Sometimes it was stressful and overwhelming.

Each Sunday I kept coming back, taking deep breaths, and reassuring myself that it was merely an hour and a half a week. I could say I fulfilled my commitment for that week, check that box off, and no guilt followed.

Eventually, the Vista Kids staff mentioned taking a month off, or a Sabbath month. At first, I was not really for or against it. I understood that Sabbath meant rest, but I struggled with rest. I am an all or nothing person. So what does rest look like for a person like that? A person like me?

I was so busy serving and giving to everyone else, I had forgotten about me and the things that would give me a sense of joy and fulfillment around my own family and house. I had put my families needs and house needs on the back burner and had committed to tending to everyone else's needs. Taking a month away from serving allowed me time to get back on track and accomplish the things that had been weighing me down in my everyday life.

When you choose to serve as a summer substitute volunteers, you are choosing giving a volunteer a chance to catch their breath

I needed to rest and renew my perspective and expectation of immediate gratification. Things seemed to slowly be getting lighter on my shoulders – a weight was lifted.

I relish the renewal my family gained during my month off. I realized that I truly do enjoy where I am serving. I missed my family of volunteers and the kids we care for and disciple every week. I could not wait to get back and see how everyone was doing! Although I did not have an initial response or feeling on taking a Sabbath month or what that would look like for me, it was so needed and right on time.

When you choose to serve as a summer substitute volunteer, you are choosing to give a volunteer a chance to catch their breath, and remember that their hard work makes all the difference for the faith of the next generation.

Want to serve in Vista Kids this summer? Sign up to be a Summer Sub by clicking the button below, or email Kelsey Taylor at

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