Why Ministry Leaders Need to Think of Themselves This Holiday

If you’re a ministry leader, mostly what you think about this weekend is others.

The people coming to Good Friday services

The guests who will be at church on Easter Sunday

Your team and crew who served so hard this weekend while everyone else was ‘off’

Your family and all the people who will be through your home

Your spouse and kids (certainly not last and certainly not least)

But what about you?

One of the nasty secrets of church leadership is that leaders help other people celebrate the major holidays but in the process sometimes fail to celebrate it themselves.

When that happens repeatedly, major moments like Good Friday and Easter Sunday lose their meaning. They become about what Jesus did for others, and you lose the fact that He also did this for you.

It’s not just a personal relationship with others Christ wants, it’s a personal relationship with you.

And the shadow side of neglecting your soul on weekend like this is that, over time, the impact is cumulative.

A spiritually empty leader can’t grow a spiritually vibrant ministry.

You will never be able to lead people beyond where you yourself have gone.

So by all means serve others this weekend. We have six services this weekend and we’re launching a 40 Day spiritual journey on Easter Sunday. I’m all for that.

But don’t neglect your own soul.

God loves you. He really does.

That’s why you got into this in the first place, isn’t it?

Here are a few, simple ways you can engage your heart this weekend:

Put on a playlist that moves your spirit. I did this before the weekend services, and some of the songs moved me to tears.

Dig into the scriptures personally. I find Isaiah 53 moves me into incredible space when I think about the sacrifice of Jesus. You might have a few passages that move your core as well.

Pray beyond just ‘grace’ with your family. This can be awkward, but don’t settle for just the usual ‘grace’ at dinner – probe deeper and express your gratitude and longings to God.

Go for a walk. Or go for a hike or hit a coffee shop or take a bike ride or do something that gets you away from your usual and into a place where you naturally have time to think, breathe and reflect.

Spend 30 minutes in silence reflecting on God’s love for you. When was the last time you did this? Exactly.

So this weekend, let God’s love for people also be God’s love for you.

Regardless of whether it makes you a better leader (it will, trust me), it will help you experience the grace Christ longs for you to experience.

What helps you connect with God during a busy ministry season?

  • http://www.thedailysaint.com/ Mike St. Pierre

    Carey, great stuff as always. Too often we get caught up in a hot living room and then eat too much! I like your suggestions – proactive and thoughtful.

  • Barbee

    Thanks Carey. As you said…when you are trying to worship at your own church/place of employment, it is very hard to totally disconnect and re-focus (even on ADD meds :) Did not do a good job of it lastnight.

  • http://twitter.com/cnieuwhof Carey Nieuwhof

    So true Elisa. I always hope I arrive…but you never do. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lairdgirl Elisa Laird

    It’s great to be reminded that in order to point people to the path, you have to be walking on it. It’s a journey that doesn’t stop for a leader.

  • tammy tolman

    Thanks Carey so true !

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    Great reminder Carey. I am so passionate about my calling, it is important to know that God loves us more than our calling or gifts.

  • Angel

    Such a true post and something I’ve heard the entire time I’ve been in ministry, but have only put into practice the past few years. I kept thinking that I attended a service with my family–that should be good enough. But, working for a church, it’s hard to cut yourself off from what’s happening on the other side of the building and just be in the moment.
    Music and videos do start me off on the right foot. I’ll youtube a few and look at the words and pictures. Sometimes that points me back to Scripture, other times, I just sit and dwell on it for a while, others, I move on for the day. No matter what, though, taking the time to just be in His presence is something that I still don’t do well, but I’ve learned makes a huge difference to my day on these big days. The difference of whether I am doing things for God or allowing Him to do things in and through me.