As my 30th birthday approaches (in about 4 months), I’m coming to the reality that my body doesn’t do what it did in my mid 20’s and I know this reality will become more and more real as I approach the next decade milestone. It doesn’t help when I don’t take care of my body and this past weekend I ate a lot more than this fine specimen is able to handle. This morning before my run I felt bloated and blah. In the end the run wasn’t horrible; however, it wasn’t easy either. I have to now take into consideration not to abuse my body like I use to and that it needs more time to recover. As the fall approaches I know I’m at similar risk with ministry. There would be Sunday nights of student ministry that would wear me out to the point where getting out of bed on Monday felt like torture. So how do we avoid burnout and bruising weekend?
It’s really by surrounding yourself with a dedicated team of ministers, but if you are new or not there yet the idea of not having those people can be overwhelming. So in the meantime take note of your:
- Gifts – You can do best when you were designed to do best. God gave you gifts and talents so instead of improving on your weaknesses, work on your strengths. One night our band was a no show for the middle school program, with the exception of one guitarist, guess who sang? I did, guess who can’t sing? That’s right me. I am musical I play the piano and guitar, I just don’t have the gift of singing, I have the gift of sounding bad and at that time I shouldn’t have shared it. Some of us try to be well rounded but if we don’t have that gift and force it because we see other ministers doing it we may cause harm. When we try to be everything we end up acting like a flashlight, we need to be more like a laser, focused and concentrated. And that brings me to the next thing:
- Limits – We want to believe we can do everything, but we just can’t. When you embrace the limits that God has surrounded you with you begin to discover how much you can really accomplish. When there are no limits its easy to develop “the grass is always greener…” mentality, because we are constantly looking to get off the path God has set forth for us. God put these limits in our life to help us, not to deter us. Some of those limits might be the demographics of your community, the size of your church, or the budget. And embracing your limits isn’t just an act of humility, it’s an act of thanking God for the path He’s designed for you, in the end you’ll feel more joy acting within His parameters. After all isn’t that what we teach our students?
When we recognize our limits and gifts it becomes easier for us to welcome people into our ministry who compliment us and will help us take it to the next level. One of the keys to building a ministry team is recognizing where there are holes and who you need to fill them. With all that said, it’s still important to recognize that we will have bad weekends or rough seasons of ministry, but by embracing our limits and gifts we relinquish more of our control over to God and allow Him to bless us with a great ministry team.
I know I only have 6 years of ministry under my belt that’s why I would invite others to share what they have learned helps them avoid burnout and even a rough weekend?