Regardless of what field you are in, leadership is demanding. It’s often messy, especially in ministry. It can take it’s toll on you as an individual, on your family, and on your ministry team.
Here are 5 things I try and do everyday to help combat the demands of leadership:
Relate: We were created for relationships, both with God and with each other. In fact, Jesus said that that’s what it really comes down to when all is said & done – love God and love others.
On a daily basis, it’s important that we create time for these relationships. With God, that typically means spending time in the Word & in prayer, perhaps worshiping in your favorite manner, or sitting quietly just listening & meditating on what He’s saying to you. It’s also important for children’s ministry leaders to be in church…but that’s another post!
With others, it’s important that we interact relationally beyond our job description. It’s important to have meaningfully interaction with our team & others that we work with. And, though it may seem obvious, it’s important that we relate to our family beyond getting to the next event or by sitting in front of the TV.
Reflect: The older I get the more reflective I become. God has done & continues to do amazing things all around me – it’s important that I stop & reflect on these things, whether they be personal, what’s happening in my family or what’s happened in my ministry. Remembering the “wins” and learning from the “losses” requires reflection.
Renew: Because leadership & ministry are hard, they are also draining. What is it that renews you? For some, it’s a hobby or craft. For others, it’s reading, or playing a sport. It might be making sure you get time to be with friends.
Whatever it is, make sure you create time for it. It’s not “wasted” time at all – it’s essential for you to be at your best.
Rest: For the longest time I didn’t get this. I thought I needed to go, go, go. I would go weeks without a day off, days on just 6 hours of sleep a night. It wore me out. And, worse, it hindered what God called me to do. We all have different requirements when it comes to sleep, physical exertion, etc. Define what you need and make sure you get it. Sure, there will be seasons when we need to push but, as a rule, we need our rest.
And, as someone told me long ago, if you are constantly unable to get your work done resulting in lack of rest, then something needs to change. It might be your work habits, or it might be the amount you are trying to accomplish, but something needs to change.
Read: Leaders read…period. Blogs, magazines, book summaries, books…you cannot possibly lead as effectively as you can if you are not reading. Focus on the areas you believe are most important – for me its leadership, children’s ministry, general ministry & culture, in that order. You may not think you are a reader but, in my opinion, if you are in a leadership position you don’t have a choice. As I’ve shared before, simply commit to small bites and you will be amazed at what you can get through – a single chapter a day will get you through about 25 books a year!