Do you desire to grow as a ministry leader in your communication? Do you feel like you haven’t reached your full potential, but want to keep progressing? At MultiplyLeaders we love helping leaders begin ministry with the right resources, attitudes, habits and perspectives to flourish for the long-haul. We also find joy in helping stuck leaders unlock their potential in Jesus’ name.
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Click on this link for more information about the bundle so you can grow to your potential as a communicator.
For the first 7 years of being a ministry leader, I refused to acknowledge and live within my limits. I was addicted to ministry. I loved Jesus, but some days I loved ministry more. I loved walking beside others and helping them grow in Jesus into their full-potential, but I also loved ministry for many unhealthy reasons. From my own experience and from conversations with other pastors, here are 6 of many reasons we can become addicted to ministry:
6 Reasons its easy to be addicted to ministry
Gives sense of value
Others celebrate you
You can make others need you
Makes you feel important
You think you’re the savior
Others modeled it to you when you were beginning
The challenge is that most of the time the negative consequences don’t show up until much damage is already done. The warning signs are hard to see. We have to continually check our hearts to understand our motives and what is driving us.
Here are signs you might be addicted to ministry:
You don’t take days off
You don’t have set day off each week
You don’t have mutual friendships
You are becoming increasingly bitter and resentful
You think repeatedly about how much harder you work than others around you
You have increasing conversations in your head and not with real people who you are frustrated with, irritated at, disappointed in
You spouse raises concerns and you become defensive and talk about quitting if that would make it easier
You are better at church than at home. Your spouse would love life if you were the same person at both places. If you were as loving, as good of a listener, as patient (I’ve been there), as hopeful
You are gaining too much weight
You pray life and intimacy with God is dying
You may experience only a few of these symptoms, or you may experience them in increasing measure. That’s what makes addiction to ministry so dangerous. It is a slow burn into spiritual burnout. I have been there. Multiple times.
Here are the 4 most important things you can do to thrive in ministry without being addicted:
Live in your Jesus identity. You are God’s beloved. You are his child. You are a new creation. When we really believe that reality is true in Jesus, we no longer have to ACHIEVE our identity and search for value. Instead we RECEIVE our value, purpose and worth in who Jesus says we are
Grow more friendships. Make it a priority to have friends. Seriously. One of the top choices that will keep you healthy
Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat regularly, get sleep. Don’t rationalize it. Take care of yourself so you actually have something to offer others that is more than a shell of yourself
Schedule your time off and guard it. Now, there are a few emergencies that require you to come in on your day off, but they are so few and far between that if you find yourself doing it more than 1 or 2 times a year, you are likely making excuses and living in others approval of you instead of Jesus’. By guard it I mean do what refreshes you and don’t let others fill that day. Seek God, have fun, rest, you choose what to do and not others.
Picked this phraseology off a podcast I was listening to the other day. “Simplify to amplify.” Not a new concept to know for me, but a hard concept to incorporate into my mentality. I always want to grow the healthiest ministry for our students that we can. So it is easy to add another class, add another program, add another trip or do an opportunity some parent or another staff member wants me to do because I want the best opportunities possible for our students to grow.
As a student pastor, I increasingly feel the challenge of communicating the various opportunities to our students from 10-11 different schools in a compelling and clear manner. We communicate through in multiple outlets and we seek to do so consistently, but I still feel the frustration after weeks of announcing, facebook/twitter, texting and emails to parents when a student says they don’t know about our bible study or didn’t know we were hanging each week on Thursday nights. On top of that we plan mission trips and camps, and in the midst of all that chaos, this phrase has been connecting with me in a deeper place. I look at how much our students work, how involved they are in school and sports and it reinforces my suspicion that we will be wise to do less in order to get more movement.
On a practical level, this means when I look at my calendar I need to blackout dates in order to communicate, promote, cast vision, have conversations when we are starting back up small groups in the fall, having a big community connection event or starting something new. It isn’t as simple as throwing it out there for me at the moment. It used to be. I am not sure it ever will be again in a world as busy and loud as ours.
Summing it up, here is my take away. Know why you do everything you do. Have a larger vision for how it fits together. Communicate this vision constantly and consistently in a compelling way to others to help them get activated. Resist saying yes without dropping something. If you say yes to one thing, maybe say no to something else. There are many possible good things that we can do as youth pastors, but just because it is a good thing that doesn’t mean this is the right moment or right season to say yes.