At some point every pastor begins to stagnate. What was once exhilarating and got you up in the morning becomes mundane and tedious. It is imperative that every pastor regularly refresh the vision he has for the church that God has called him to lead. Here are ten ways I personally refresh and renew.
- Go back to the basics. When you don’t know what to do; do what you know to do. Nearly every leader feeling worn out and burnt up has long left the disciplines of personal and spiritual health. Start running. Get up one hour earlier and pray and read one chapter of the Bible. You will be amazed at what one mile, one hour and one chapter can do for your life.
- Ask a lot of questions. Find men and women serving God in completely different context and ask them all about it. This may lead to nothing more than your information but it is beneficial.
- Kill nearly everything. Naturally we pick up things and start stuff we don’t really care about. More than likely you have a few things sapping you of energy and strength. Kill them off. Don’t apologize, don’t replace them, don’t waver – kill them and move one. You are gifted in maybe 2 things but probably only one. Get to that one thing as quickly as possible.
- Start Over. So you’ve been preaching three times a week for 15 years, so what. If you met a young man who was just starting out and he asked you for three pieces of advice? What would you tell him, now do that. Do that for your preaching, your counseling, your marriage and your devotions. Start completely over.
- Come up for air. Some pastors read only pastoral books, blogs and listen to pastoral podcast. Too much information is a bad thing especially when it is all about one topic. Read some fiction, listen to random podcast about things you have never even heard of.
- Change your habits. For those of us who are disciplined routine is important. We wake up every day at the same time, we head to the office at the same time we leave at the same time. Every day, every action is scheduled. One of the most inspiring ways to create change is to mix it up. Switch your study to Thursday and run a different path. This is a great way to see things a new way.
- Go looking for inspiration. When was the last time you went to a museum or a concert or an urban city center? Good art and culture inspire us and draw more creativity out of us.
- Turn it off. When it is time to go home, go home. Turn your phone off. If your church member has an emergency they should call 911. You have to learn to take a break and rest a little.
- Help someone else. The reason you can’t see past your own problems is because you won’t look past them. Take a full day and work on someone else’s problems. Help a guy you barely know get an interview. Join the Chamber board and help local businesses make more money. Ride along with police officers and see how your community actually fights, grieves, and handles fear. Go purposefully into the darkness, I bet when you come out your office will be such a calm and inspirational place.
- Thank God for boring. As pastors we often live on the adrenaline of the urgent. In any given day we can glide from the birth of a first born, the death of a grandfather, the complexity of predestination, the decision of a teenager to choose an alternative lifestyle, the celebration of a new church plant and soccer practice for our own mini-me. Sometimes those seasons of just sitting and preparing a sermon for the week are a gift from God. So the church only added 12 members this past quarter and your budget is just slightly in the black. Those are good things. Celebrate, quietly and thank God for that.
In my experience most guys struggle in the area of vision and creativity simply because they think they are supposed to be doing something grand and outrageous.
As Tim Keller said; “It is now an embarrassment to be merely faithful without also being successful. Wasn’t it Paul who said, ‘seek to live a quiet life’?”
Published October 18, 2016