This doesn’t change when we become Christians nor does it suddenly go away when we answer the call to serve the Lord in vocational ministry.
No one knows this better than the pastors reading this. You know, and, thankfully, so does the Lord. When we feel lonely as followers of Jesus, regardless of our role within His kingdom, we have the opportunity to identify with Him.
No one knows what it is like to not only feel forsaken, but be forsaken, like our Lord.
The Apostle Paul got this and shared this sense of connection to Christ in his letter to His followers in Philippi. (See Philippians 3:10.)
When it comes to loneliness, we all go there. None of us should stay there.
Pastor, here’s the BIG POINT: DON’T BE LONELY ALONE.
When we stay lonely alone, too long, we risk the real problem, isolation.
Proverbs 18:1, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
The root word in this verse is פָּרַד paw-rad’; to break through, spread or separate: disperse, divide, be out of joint, part, scatter, separate, sever self, stretch, sunder. (Strong’s, H6504)
We all face loneliness. However, isolation is a choice.
How do you know if you are choosing isolation as a leader? Isolation is characterized by numerous symptoms. These symptoms come on slowly but very surely.
Join us in The Lonely Leader – Part 2 coming soon as we uncover these symptoms together.
Lead the way in encouraging people to keep gathering when they aren’t enjoying their vacation or weekend get-a-way. Be creative in providing opportunities for this not only in your main weekend worship experiences, but at other times for just getting together for fun and fellowship. Cookouts and/or tailgate parties never go out of style and can be done by churches large and small!
Our Need to Grow! This is all about spiritual growth.
Lead the way in encouraging people to continue in personal and family spiritual growth.
You need to come right out and say it, “We don’t need a vacation from growing in Jesus.”
Start at the most basic place. Talk about having a daily time reading God’s Word and praying and how fundamental this is to us as followers of Jesus. Share from your heart what this has meant to you and/or have others share what it has meant in their lives and families.
Don’t “pound the pulpit” about it. Instead, talk in simple terms and transparent ways about our temptation to do this over the summer. Then, provide some practical ways to grow in a personal/family devotional life.
Here are a few reminders you can give and resources you can offer:
Download the YouVersion Bible App and follow a personal daily reading plan. Offer plans for groups and/or as a congregation. https://www.youversion.com/
Provide a subscription to RightNow Media. This resource provides an amazing amount of video teachings, messages, conferences, and entertaining choices for all ages! https://www.rightnowmedia.org/
Our Need to Give! This is all about stewardship.
Lead the way in encouraging people to stay out of debt personally and as a family over the summer.
Start with caring about their personal finances and debt so they know you truly care about them, not just what they can give! Then, lead the way in encouraging everyone to continue (or start) tithing and giving.
Here are a few suggestions for your staff/lead teams and resources you can offer:
Pastors are known for many things. Unfortunately, physical fitness may not crack the Top 10.
If you are a pastor (or busy leader) that needs to get in shape, this post is for you. Ask yourself, “How much more effective could I be if I lived with increased energy, mental sharpness and emotional lift?” It’s time to find out.
Here are some tips you can start applying today…
Drink water. Drink a lot of water all day, every day. Make a goal of at least 80+ ounces a day. Stop (or cut way down) drinking sodas and/or other sugary drinks. You drink diet? It’s worse. Sodas of any kind are akin to embalming fluid.
Our adult bodies average between 57-60% water content and the world we live in is around 71%. Get into the stuff you’re made of and stay hydrated.
Eat clean. Alright, eat cleaner. Here’s the tough part… cut way down on carbs and increase lean proteins. NO late night feeding frenzies. Don’t eat bread with every meal and, c’mon pastor, put down that doughnut! Did we mention “fast food?” When and if you must, choose grilled options and salads over fried foods and keep your portions sensible.
Here’s the fun part… eat more! Eat 5-6 smaller meals instead of 3 pig-outs and that midnight “4th meal.” Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal. Here’s a secret, your tastebuds will change. Believe it or not, you will eventually prefer grilled chicken, fish and lean beef over deep fried anything.
When you start feeling hungry, don’t reach for food first. Drink 12 oz of water and then see if you still feel hungry. Still need a snack? Reach for that banana or natural granola, almonds, etc. Keep some peanut butter or almond butter handy and try a spoonful to quiet the growling stomach.
Get and stay active. Get up. Get moving. You can do this. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Walk at lunch. Walk when you get a phone call. They’re called mobile phones for a reason. Take up hiking, cycling, cross training, even yoga, get a gym membership and work out on a regular basis.
I stop, drop and do some push-ups all the time in my office. It has a way of getting the heart pumping and increasing my energy. Try it!
Try a standing work station. Don’t just sit there while you work, study and sermonize. Take a stand! I use an adjustable cafe style table so I can stand without leaning over. I use it about 80% of my office time and it makes a daily difference. No more dozing off in the late morning or afternoon. Work on your feet and find your energy and creativity increase overall.
I’m writing this from my standing station as we speak!
Sleep more. That’s right, take that power nap whenever possible. Go to bed a 1/2 hour early. Go for 7-8 hours per night. Take time to recharge by catching some much needed zzz’s. You won’t get any medals for waking up earlier, staying up later or working yourself into an early grave. Model proper life management and remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
No excuses. Going on the road for that conference, retreat or revival? Get in 15 minutes of exercise in early morning or late night. Here is a link to a great workout for the road. 7 Minute Workout Can’t do it all at first? Do what you can when you can. No excuses.
Be accountable. The best athletes have great coaches and training partners. Find some friends who will call you up and call you out when it comes to the new lifestyle you have chosen. Set some reasonable goals together and encourage one another along the way.
Start small and get fit over the long haul. This is a lifestyle change, not just some new diet. You may not be anywhere close to running a marathon. Don’t overdo it in your zeal. Do check with your local doctor to assure you are getting in shape with a pace that is right for you. Start small and grow into greater health and physical well-being.
We set the example in soul, mind and body as leaders. Start today. You can do this!
Need some encouragement? Let me know how I can help. It would be a privilege to come alongside you and/or your team for a conference, retreat or ongoing coaching relationship.
Let’s do this! Before you know it, it’s time to relaunch for another season or session in your ministry area.
How do you do this well? Here are a few simple steps and friendly reminders as you Relaunch…
Set it! Set the the Relaunch date ASAP in the 5R Strategy process. Better yet, include these dates in your Annual Planning Calendar far in advance! Will your Relaunch coincide or maybe even conflict with another important event? It’s too important not to find out!
Start it! Start the 5R Strategy with the end, your Relaunch, in mind! What do you want it to look like? Define the WIN. Ask early on, “What will it mean for our Relaunch to be a huge success?” Will it be a “soft launch” that flies under the radar or will it be a “Strike up the band!” kind of day?
Shout it! People are busy. Don’t take for granted the need to get the word out in all of your media. Even better, practice the power of “WOM!“ Nothing will ever replace the the buzz created by WORD OF MOUTH! Be intentional as a team in talking it up at every opportunity as the Relaunch approaches!
See it! Will your Relaunch be GUEST READY? What will the Relaunch look like from the perspective of those who have never experienced your church, let alone your specific ministry, before?
Apply it! Reviewing it isn’t enough. This is where you have to be purposeful about applying the things you discovered in your Review and practiced in your Retrain. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns. Don’t. APPLY IT!
Include them! Are all those you partnered with in the Recruit stage included in a meaningful way in the Relaunch? Increase your team influence by sharing it with new team members. Retrain with them and then be sure they are a strategic part of your Relaunch!
Celebrate it! This is one of the things that great churches and organizations do consistently. Celebrate the WIN and be sure to celebrate the volunteers and team leaders who made that win possible. Take pictures and video of your Relaunch and highlight people serving and loving people well on your teams! This is one of the most powerful ways to gain, grow and keep your momentum as a team. And, it’s just plain fun!
Review it! Grab that Review It sheet and make sure your team is looking for ways to improve, to make it better. Things look good on paper and may have even gone great in training, but what are some things that you just couldn’t anticipate until you went “live?” Ask your team, especially new team members who have “fresh eyes,” make a list and then make it better and better!
Need help getting the 5R Strategy into the DNA of your ministry or organization? Email us at email@example.com. Let’s talk about how a partnership with Peak Pastors can help you and your teams grow more effective in realizing your unique vision!
We can all use a refresher course and all have more to learn!
Consider these 4 Steps to Retrain Your Team.
Step 1: Review Your Vision and Values.
Your team is part of something bigger! Refocus everyone on the what is central to every member as all work towards the greater WIN!
What do you do if you don’t know what your Vision and Values are?
Let’s talk! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s set up a free 30 minute consult and then consider a partnership to walk your leadership and ministry through a season of discovering your unique Vision and Values!
Review your specific job/ministry role and function.
What do you do if you don’t have these written out in simple terms? Again, let’s talk! That free 30 minute consult is waiting for you. Email us and let’s talk about the area of ministry you need to focus on.
This simple question, when asked consistently over time and answered in purposed action, will create the kind of culture that is attractive not only to the people you hope to serve, but the kind of leaders you want to be partnering with you in serving!
Answer this simple question, incorporate it into your job descriptions and then…
Step 4: Dress Rehearsal.
For you sports people out there, this looks like a blue/white scrimmage. For you entrepreneur business types, this may even be a “soft launch.”
Gather your team and walk through your experience as though it were actually happening.
In the case of a soft launch, it is happening, you simply let everyone know in advance what you are doing, offer some fun incentives/freebies, etc, and everybody wins!
I’ll say it again, the best teams train and re-train.
It’s part of who they are and are yet becoming and this get’s into the cultural DNA as a . What are they becoming? BETTER and more effective at what they do to contribute to the overall Vision and Values.
In the case of the local church, this means everything as, together, you seek to fulfill the Great Commission in your community for Jesus Christ!
Now that you know who NOT to recruit, let’s cover who would make great team leaders or members.
The classic 4 C’s of calling, character, chemistry and competence remain a tried and true guide as you vet potential team members.
Set up an interview. It can be in an office setting. Or, better yet, maybe over coffee at a cafe or lunch at a local restaurant. Keep the relational value in mind as you cover the 4 C’s.
Calling – Each calling is as unique as each person you interview.
Ask the simple question, “How do you see the Lord using you in this position?” Follow up with something like, “Why do you feel drawn to this area of ministry?”
Simply wanting to help out somewhere is evidence of a great heart. However, your teams need more than that. You need people who feel some sense of calling to make a real difference in the lives of people your team serves.
Character – It counts. No amount or talent can make up for a lack of character.
Ask the simple question, “Are you living a Christ-like example in your private and public life? What is one area where you are tempted, struggle or hope to grow?”
These questions will be revealing. If someone is resistant, evasive, defensive or, worse, insist that they don’t really struggle with anything, that’s your cue to move on.
Chemistry – Having a team member that isn’t a team player will always lead to a team fail.
Ask the simple question, “Are you a team player? Tell me what that means to you.”
You might even consider offering a 90 day trial period as a rule of thumb. Sometimes people have everything the team needs… they just don’t “fit.”
Give permission for everyone to discern if the chemistry is “organic” and the new team member “clicks” well with the team. It’s okay if they don’t and is simply too important to take for granted. Who knows, there may just be a team waiting where they will be just the right fit!
When great chemistry exists, great things happen. When it doesn’t, they don’t.
Competence – Team members have to be able to do the job, or be trained to do so. If they are interviewing with you, you should already have a confidence in their basic ability to add to the team.
Ask the simple question, “What does it mean to be teachable? Are you? Give an example.” We all have plenty to learn from the Spirit, Word and one another!
Do you have a Leadership Covenant or other defining documents? Make sure to cover those while you are at it. HINT: Send them ahead of time to give them time to pray and process them well.
In the long run, your team members will combine with you to create the culture you will live and lead in as an organization AND that guests will very quickly gain a sense of.
Purpose to create a culture of Christ-centered, servant-oriented team players!
Find out more about gathering and growing your volunteer teams! Check out our series on Viral Volunteerism. Learn how to make your ministry culture more compelling for the right kind of leaders and team members!
Your ministry is only as effective as your teams and your teams are only as effective as it’s individual members.
When it comes to recruiting members for your teams, and especially team leaders, who should you be looking for?
First, let’s answer who you should NOT be looking for?
Don’t ask for volunteers.
It takes more work. However, pray, do your homework, ask your team and then seek out potential team members. You will probably get more people involved by just asking anyone who is willing to “sign up.” Still, be careful what you wish for.
Volunteers are great for things like service projects. However, volunteers are NOT for positions of leadership. Pray and seek out God’s will for each vital position.
Drama Kings & Queens need not apply.
Life and ministry is messy enough without enabling people in positions of influence who like to “stir the pot.” Check out 5 Things Healthy Churches Don’t Do for more on this.
Let’s drill down deeper on the first of the 5Rs… REST.
I’ll never forget the words of the ER Doctor at St. Louis Barnes Hospital. I had a combination kidney stone, ulcer and panic attack episode during what was supposed to be a family day trip to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball. It didn’t go as planned.
Here were His words of warning, “You are an otherwise healthy young man. However, this is all stress related. I don’t know what you do for a living, but you either learn to love doing it, quit, or die a very young man.”
I said nothing. The last thing I wanted to do was tell him I was a pastor preaching and teaching about the Good News of Jesus! No, not of some mega, multi-site network. It was a small church in a rural community.
Wow. Did I have a lesson to learn when it came to things like rest, pace, balance and more? More than 20 years of life and leadership later, I still do.
Rest is more than a good night’s sleep, although that comes highly recommended.
Rest is part of walking with Jesus, of staying in step with His Spirit.
Rest is about daily pauses to breathe. It is a consistent pattern of refreshing soul, mind and body. It is about taking a break from the norm to recenter yourself in Christ and get back to a sustainable pace for you.
Rest is also about pace-setting as a team. Whatever your level of leadership, those you influence are subject to the pace you set.
What pace are you setting?
Are you leading like a shepherd or herding like a cattle-driver? Maybe you need to take a day off and think about it?
Want to learn more about the power of rest? Check out Soul Keeping by John Ortberg and Sacred Pace by Terry Looper. Both of these works will take you on a journey of discovery you will be glad you took.
Let me know if I can help learn more about the connection between rest and healthy living and leadership! Email me at email@example.com.
How has God uniquely called, wired and gifted you as a pastor or leader of His local church?
With everyone hosting their own sites and posting their latest and greatest moments on multiple online platforms, it’s easier than even to fall prey to the trap of comparison.
Worse, it’s easy to go from comparison to imitation.
While we can always learn more and more from one another, it is vital to remember that the Lord has made you, YOU, “for such a time as this.” Scroll down to find a link to discovering more about how God has wired you.
Here are 4 Reasons to Be Yourself as a leader.
You aren’t __________________ (insert name of leader).
Whoever you admire as a leader, from a fellow local church pastor to that internet famous, multi-site, mega pastor, you simply are not and cannot be them.
Trying to be what they are and do what they do and speak how they speak will only exhaust you. Besides, it won’t take long for others to figure out that you simply aren’t comfortable in your own skin. This insecurity quickly becomes a lid on your leadership and influence. To be blunt, it’s soul-crushing.
Your people don’t need another _______________ (insert name of leader).
Your team needs you, the real you with all of your gifts, your shortcomings, your successes and your scars. There is a reason the Lord has put you where you are, and it isn’t to imitate someone else. Be who you are.
You can be a better and better YOU!
You haven’t arrived just yet. There is room for all of us to continue growing as leaders. Yes, this may mean taking some cues from others, not to become like them, but to be a better you in Christ.
People love YOU!
No, not everyone does or will love you or appreciate your unique leadership or communication style. However, if you are leading well with a team you are committed to investing in, serving and growing with, then most will be glad to serve, grow, lead and follow the Spirit’s lead with you.