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:

 

About The Author

Dr. Bond is a pastor, counselor, coach, professor, and businessman. In addition to leading the Proximus Group, Dwayne serves as the Lead Pastor/Founding Pastor of Wellspring Church in Charlotte, NC. He graduated from Liberty University with a Ph.D. in Professional Counseling, Capital Bible Seminary with an M.A. in Christian Counseling and Discipleship, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary with an M.A. in Religion, and University of Maryland with a B.S. in Finance. In addition to obtaining earned degrees, Dwayne has over seventeen years of counseling experience, (including over 3,300 hours of face-to-face counseling), eleven years as a professor in academia, fourteen years in the pastorate, twenty-four years of ministry experience and ten years of corporate business experience. He serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, the Executive Board and the Southeast Region Executive Team in the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. Dwayne is poised to assist individuals, families, pastors, business leaders, organizations and churches. He is a gifted counselor and an effective and proven leader who understands people and is equipped to assist them through whatever ails them. He is passionate about offering hope and healing through Christ for those who are hurting. He and his wife, Leslie of twenty-seven years, have two sons, Jarami and Kamin, and one daughter, Imani. Dwayne enjoys traveling, health, fitness, basketball, gardening, cooking and reading.

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