mental health

I LOVE WORKING HERE!

What if you and your church staff loved your work and office culture? (I would love for you to find out!)

What if the team culture you created was

healthy, family-friendly,

sparked creativity, facilitated relational

connectivity and increased morale almost as

much as overall team productivity?

What if there was no plan to “get back to normal” after COVID when it comes to working from the office? What if there was a better way to do and be church leaders when it comes to our work/office policies and expectations? What about encouraging ample days off, vacations, and more?

This is what is sometimes known as a Flex & ROW model can bring to your ministry team. It has actually been around in various forms for quite a while and, thankfully, is finding its way to where it is needed most… church life and leadership!

“Flex” simply stands for flexibility.

It means no more “9-5” office requirements. It means understanding that ministry has never fit that fixed timeframe and is anything but confined to an office. It means permission and encouragement to be where and when people need connection, both members of the local church and especially people in the community we should all be trying to connect with for Christ.

“ROW” stands for Results Oriented Workplace.

In other words, there are no “points” for showing up and occupying space for any length of time. This is about relational results as priority. However, when a team is motivated, even the mundane gets done with some healthy motivation.

It’s hard to believe that so many churches still

insist on a Monday – Friday (in addition to

Sunday and all church-related events) model

for leading ministry!

Set hours in confined space has always missed the point…

RELATIONSHIP!

Flex & ROW is all about two results that we will unpack in the next couple of posts: health and relationships. It’s interesting just how much the two fuel one another!

I would love to help you and your

team move to this model in 2021!

Having helped my own ministry teams shift to this and encouraging it’s principles for many years as a coach, I have seen what this can do for church leaders who embrace ministry in a new and life-giving way. By the way, I LOVE OUR LEADERS (Elders) for having the boldness and wisdom to embrace this!

Of course, it takes some explaining and some painting of pictures that, let’s face it, someone else is often more effective at painting. Again, I would love to come alongside you! We used https://careynieuwhof.com/start-here/ and his “High Impact Workplace” course to guide us and I would recommend you get in on it as well as the High Impact Leader!

Why does this matter?

Because we are called to

fulfill Jesus’ Great

Commission and live out

His Great Commandments

and this call can’t be

confined to “9-5.”

Hope to hear from you soon. Email me at tom@peakpastors.com and let’s set up a time to talk about the possibilities!

Beat March Madness

March Madness isn’t just a basketball tournament. For pastors, it’s the annual (and sometimes exhausting) ritual of getting ready for and playing at our best during “The Big Dance” known as the Easter Season.

Let’s face it, the pressure to

perform is on.

If we aren’t careful, it can get the best of even the most seasoned veterans.

How do you avoid this as a leader?

For too long it has been a disturbing badge of honor to live and lead by “burning the candle at both ends.” While there are days when we have to get up early and stay up late to get it done, this shouldn’t be the indefinite lifestyle of a healthy leader.

Here’s Tip #1 – Get more sleep!

The truth is, when someone is perpetually exhausted, eventually there are poor life and leadership choices being made.

“Rest isn’t weakness.” – Carey Nieuwhof

Find out more at https://careynieuwhof.com/why-leadership-is-so-exhausting-and-what-to-do-about-it/

We’ve all been there when we haven’t gotten enough zzzz’s. We get “cranky,” and our creativity decreases along with our attention span. Poor eating and drinking choices increase as we try to get more energy in all the wrong ways when what we need is more “shut-eye.” 

Not convinced? Check out this link to a great article on the correlation between rest and productivity by Michael Hyatt – Why People Who Sleep Longer Achieve More

It’s simple. If we want to be at our best for the Lord, our families, lead teams and the people we serve, then we must choose to be well-rested.

We might even take an elusive “power-nap” every now and then.

New York Times best-selling author and all around life and leadership guru Jon Acuff challenges us…

“In a world that praises busyness,

rest is an act of bravery.” 

Refuse to live and lead exhausted. Don’t give into the March Madness of ministry during any season. 

REST WELL.

Pack Light, Pack Right 2

Part 2: The Pastor’s Soul

“For the soul to be well, it needs to be with God.”

– John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg

Somewhere in the preparing and preaching, in the teaching and training, the visioning and visiting, counseling and caring for the local church is the soul of a pastor… and it needs keeping.

The second essential thing to pack light and pack right for pastors is a healthy soul. We want to help pastors focus on their own soul health, namely, their personal relationship with Jesus.

After all, without a healthy soul, grounded and growing in a purposed relationship with Jesus, pastors simply cannot be who and what they long to be in the home, the church or community. What was it Paul said?

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

This is where our future Pioneer

Trail Teams will come in!

Be on the lookout for more information about small groups of pastors that will be forming in the months to come. Our first groups will be Pioneer Trail Teams who will help us blaze the trail of these cohorts of pastors, learning together more about what it means to encourage and hold one another accountable in the four essential areas of heart, soul, mind and strength!

Nobody “gets” the life of a pastor like a

pastor (and their spouses!).

Until then, join in our Peak Pastors Facebook Group page by pastors, for pastors! Invite others to join you and encourage, encourage, encourage.

If you haven’t already read Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, you simply must pick it up and put it in your daily carry pack! IT IS A MUST READ AND MUST APPLY. Check it out at http://www.johnortberg.com/book_type/books/ or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Keeping-Caring-Most-Important/dp/1491521619

How do you care for your soul, pastor? Share your insights below or on our Peak Pastors Facebook Group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/peakpastors/?source_id=440477556480460

Depressed Part 2

Whether you are a pastor struggling with depression or simply hope to come alongside one in your life who does, where do you begin?

I’ll admit it. I was a pastor who was simply unqualified to counsel on this subject early in my ministry. If I had been, I wouldn’t have heard these words from an ER physician. He said, “I don’t know what you do for a living. But you either learn to love it, find something else, or die a very young man.”

I was stressed, depressed and didn’t really know what to do about it.

Thankfully, there were people in my life that did. In time, I made changes that have kept me living and leading healthy.

Here are three resources to help you respond in a more compassionate and informed way to the realities that contribute to depression and compound other forms of mental illness among church leaders…

Understand the “Why?” behind it. Thomas Rainer helps us come to terms with some of root causes behind depression among clergy. https://thomrainer.com/2018/02/five-reasons-many-pastors-struggle-depression/

Get past the stigma that comes with it. Mark Meynell writes for the Gospel Coalition about getting the conversation out in the open. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/pastors-depression/

Take some practical steps to confront it. Something has to change. Stephanie Lobdell draws from the life of Elijah to offer some steps anyone can take to keep depression from leading them down a darker path. https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2017/december-web-exclusives/when-youre-pastor-who-suffers-from-depression.html

It’s become all too cliche and way too familiar. Still, “the struggle is real” for those of us serving to answer God’s call to ministry.

There is hope. There is help.

Be a part of the solution and stay informed on the realities of depression and mental illness.

If you are struggling with depression. Let someone know. You don’t have to walk alone.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Depressed

Recent news of another pastor taking his own life has us all hurting and questioning.

How should we approach the reality of depression among Christian leaders, especially among those of us who preach and teach the Good News of Jesus?

Whether you are a pastor, church leader or just happened to be searching the web on this subject, here are a few thoughts about pastors, from a pastor, to help guide your conversations.

Pastors aren’t immune… to anything. We are flawed, failed, tempted and tried, and our calling doesn’t magically make us somehow above the things that challenge others, including an unseen sickness like depression.

Pastors are lonely… at least it often feels that way. We may be surrounded by people, many are even very encouraging. Still, church leadership can leave us feeling very much isolated no matter how many “likes” we get on social media.

Pastors don’t have all the answers… too many think they do (maybe even a few us pastors). We have some education, attended a conference or two and have some experience. The very Word of God is right there at our fingertips on a daily basis.

Make no mistake, there is hope in Jesus Christ.

Still, that doesn’t mean we always know exactly how to prescribe it in the real world to others or even ourselves.

Pastors are a target… and we need a lot of grace and prayer. Sure, the devil is trying to take everyone down with him in the end. Still, everyone knows that in warfare, if you can take down leaders, the impact on your enemy is multiplied many fold.

In short, pastors are people.

What can you do to deal with the pressures and stresses of ministry life as a pastor, or to come alongside one that you care about? We’ll talk about that in Depressed, Part 2.

What would you say about the realities that pastors face? Share your insights below in the reply section. We would love to hear from you!

Need help right now? You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).