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12 MINISTRY HABITS TO KEEP YOU SANE (PART 2)

By Guest Contributor April 24, 2014

By: Chris Maxwell

This list is a continuation of Chris’s good ministry habits from Tuesday.

7. I took a sabbatical. In my early years of pastoring I would go away for a few days to study, read, write, and pray, all in a place where only a few knew my whereabouts. To my detriment, I slowed that down over the years—out of guilt, out of feeling like I owed so much to a wonderful congregation who put up with me for so many years, or out of an addiction to duties and tasks.

But my actual sabbatical was an amazing experience with God. Just before I left on this vacation, I spoke on a Sunday morning about remembering the Sabbath, about our addictions to work, about our desires to accomplish things and to prove something to somebody. We brought the children in from the kids’ church so they could see my departure. I concluded my sermon by telling the flock I loved them but I needed to love God more. I took off my tie and tossed it to the floor, saying, “I love you, but for the next five Sundays I won’t be here. Pray for me and pray for yourself and pray for the church. I’m out of here.”

Those months away gave me a new romance with God and a better view toward this truth: I need to love him more than I love what I do for him. One additional lesson: God loves his people more than I do.

9. I created a team. A former staff member called me recently and thanked me. Not for my preaching or my leadership skills. He said this: “You let us work as a team. Thank you.” Teamwork was the only way I could work. Staff members are much better in their roles than I am. Even in situations where my experience gave me more knowledge about a particular event, they needed their own experience. They needed ownership and respect. So I loved them by delegating. Teamwork works.

8. I considered staff members as friends. I know this isn’t popular, probably because it leaves bigger wounds after the infighting and betrayals that are far too common on church staffs. But I’m glad we worked that way. Usually the church benefited from our close relationships.

10. I asked friends to critique my messages. Because I sought input, I learned how to improve, how to see myself from others’ eyes, how to avoid forcing my agenda when it wasn’t related to biblical texts. Even now, I wish I’d asked for more help than I did.

11. I pastored people who did not attend our church (or any church). This proved that pastoring was in my heart, not just my job description.

12. I habitually saw a counselor. I should have done this much sooner. When “stubborn me” finally followed the advice I gave to others, I was allowed to vomit my feelings to a listener who did just that: he listened. Our church board agreed to pay for all our staff to see a counselor. I required it. Today when I talk to young dreamers entering ministry, I encourage them to find trained ears to hear them. Pastors need pastors, counselors need counselors, and people need safe havens for psalmistic therapy. It is worth the price.

 

About the Author

Guest Contributor

The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry…  Read More