The complexities and challenging nuances of ministry can take their toll on sincere godly leaders who seek to fulfill God’s call for their lives. Every pastor or church leader has a common journey but a varied outcome. Some leaders thrive in ministry by maintaining healthy rhythms, while others seek to merely survive and keep from burning out. Still others develop unhealthy habits and end up disqualifying themselves from ministry. However, by God’s grace, you can thrive over the long haul in ministry. Longevity in ministry can happen.
Tweet this: By God’s grace, you can thrive over the long haul in ministry. @dwaynebond
Here are five ways to experience health and longevity in ministry:
Identify any unrealistic ministry expectations
While it is commendable to enter ministry with plans for success and hopes for longevity, your expectations have to be realistic. Being unrealistic or utopian about what life should look like brings frustration and leads to discouragement. What you hoped that ministry would be like and the disappointment of that not taking place must be faced and addressed. If not, the tension between your expectations and reality will wreak havoc on your heart, mind and soul. Understand what these expectations are, the motivation behind them and determine whether they are realistic or not.
Develop intentional rhythms of refreshment
Finishing well is the desire of every leader who accepts the prodding and call to engage in local church ministry. What are the rhythms that need to be considered in order to make it over the long haul? Consider how or whether you disconnect from ministry to be refreshed. Take an honest look at how you maintain healthy emotions, mind, soul and body. Oftentimes, resilience in ministry is lacking because these four areas are neglected. But as you address these areas, endurance in ministry becomes possible.
Tweet this: Take an honest look at how you maintain healthy emotions, mind, soul and body. @dwaynebond
Tweet this: Resilience in ministry is lacking because emotions, mind, soul and body are neglected. @dwaynebond
Recognize that you need a self-care plan
Everything on earth requires maintenance – cars, homes, and especially our bodies. Serving in ministry is rewarding, yet hard work. As your heart and soul pour out for the good of others, they need replenishment. As your body intrinsically responds to the pace of ministry, it needs attention. Developing a self-care plan allows you to stay healthy while being a blessing to others. Depression, anxiety, despair, obesity, adrenal fatigue, and emotional eating are real possibilities for a pastor or ministry leader. However, putting a plan in place that includes accountability before the onset of these debilitating challenges could help to circumvent them.
Tweet this: Developing a self-care plan allows you to stay healthy while being a blessing to others. @dwaynebond
Embrace the changing world around you
The world is changing at a fast pace. With this transforming world comes the need for the ministry leader to adapt to the nuances of the new world. Not only is technology contributing to this increased pace of change but also the rise of multi-ethnic communities as well. Understanding how to reach ethnic minorities will be critical for the developing and maturing leader who wants to reach, not only those who look like him but all people.
As in Acts 13, the church is sent to address this multi-ethnic world. It starts with recognizing that a homogeneous ministry population could be a red flag or indicator that more than one ethnicity has not been intentionally considered. As our neighbors, communities and cities change, so should our ministries. Instead of relocating the church due to an influx of ethnic minorities, we need to embrace the change and execute ministry with a robust understanding of those who need the gospel.
Understand your heart and get equipped to counsel others
When ministering to others, it’s so easy to miss your own heart. In helping others, we lose sight of our own hearts and where we are with the Lord. We need training on how to read our own hearts and lives. Leaders aren’t burning out because they aren’t effective and gifted leaders. Burnout is happening at epidemic proportions because leaders have lost sight of their hearts. Since most of our ministry training is geared toward filling our heads and equipping our hands to do the work, we have missed out on how to be soul-aware and self-aware. We need help to unearth our feelings, thoughts, and relational concerns. Consequently, as we grow in tune with our hearts, we are able to better help others. We need help before we can help others with compassion and authenticity.
Tweet this: Burnout is happening at epidemic proportions because leaders have lost sight of their hearts. @dwaynebond
Looking for a mentor to help you thrive over the long haul in ministry? Want personalized coaching to help you keep from burning out? Check out this Coaching Cohort with Dr. Dwayne Bond called Enduring In Ministry: