Every day is a good day to remind yourself why you ended up in ministry.
In my humble opinion, ministry is just too tough if you are not daily reminded of your call.
A fresh perspective—one that sees the world through eternal eyes—is a great way to fuel your passion.
We’ve been told in myriad ways that a bigger church is always a better church, and in that lie, we’ve counted attendance and carried it around like a trophy.
As a result, thousands of amazing pastors and leaders are missing the joy of ministry as they pursue someone else’s metric for success.
There’s so much to celebrate! One of the keys to experiencing joy is to start small. Find God in the little things, and do more of them.
Here are 3 ways you can alter your perspective that are guaranteed to lift your spirits, bring hope, and fuel your tanks:
1. REVISIT YOUR ROOTS
Take some time to recall why you got into ministry in the first place. (Some of us may have to think back further than others :-).)
You had other options, what were they?
Why did you step into ministry?
It may just be that you wrestled with God and He wouldn’t let go, but there are likely deeper parts to the philosophical journey you were on.
What did true significance mean?
How did you imagine you’d celebrate successes along the way?
I find that COVID has been a bit of a Trojan horse for the midlife crisis, even for people not yet in midlife! The disruption and lack of physical community have caused most of us to feel a void and then to seek immediate answers and gratification.
When that quick hit of fulfillment we are looking for doesn’t come, we insert doubt instead of finding reassurance in the One.
So, if this seems to be speaking to you right now, I want to encourage you to run the race (hint: it’s a marathon, not a sprint), and take the time to get deeply rooted in the WHY of your beginnings in ministry.
2. REFOCUS YOUR SUCCESS METRIC
The wash cycle of 2020 is allowing us to disassemble American Church paradigms at a quicker pace than we’ve ever done before. I think that is a good thing!
While I’m all for church growth and large churches, we’ve convinced ourselves that attendance numbers are the goal. It’s one thing to measure a metric that helps us understand what’s going on, but it’s another thing to build our entire ministry on that single goal.
If you were a race car driver, would you just want to measure your engine tachometer? Of course not, but we’d likely all agree it is a good measurement to have along with other performance indicators.
What are the other indicators of a Christ-focused, healthy, growing ministry?
I’d encourage you to take some time to prayerfully think through this. Write a few ideas down, and then fill a whiteboard by asking your team: “What does success look like for us?” I think you’ll be surprised how many ways there are to measure successful aspects of ministry.
[note: I’d love to hear what you come up with!]
3. REMOVE NEGATIVITY
It is critically important to have people in your life who have perspective and permission to speak the truth to you in healthy ways.
However, there’s a difference between those that speak the truth in love with the heart and desire to support you and people who have a cloud of negativity around them.
You know people like this.
They aren’t necessarily bad people, but the effect they have on you over time drags you down.
If you are spending time with these people, they are wearing away at your emotional capacity to remain positive and hopeful.
Your ability to lead well hinges on being able to see a situation for what it is. However, a negative spirit that brings you down will have a cumulative effect on you.
You need to recognize that, and you have my permission to distance yourself from these people.
You can do this by saying no to events where they will be and by limiting your time with them on phone calls etc.
If these people are in your home and your family, you’ll need to be prayerful about how to begin conversations about altering their behavior. There are several good books out there, but I’d recommend Boundaries for Leaders by Henry Cloud to start with.
Your emotional capacity and condition are critical to your role as a leader who lifts up and draws in. Protect them and invest in them.
Be bold as you move forward. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Until next week, Grace & Peace