What causes ministry to be draining?
1. We can lead out of our anxiety (“Did anyone complain this morning?”) instead of our conviction (“How did God work in the life of the congregation this morning?”). Such leaders live in a constant state of reaction. For them, a good Sunday morning is when no one complains. Yet, is this the way God wants us to evaluate our assemblies?
2. We can spend a lot of energy trying to convince people to agree with us. This is quite different than communicating clearly how we arrived at a conclusion ourselves. Far better to calmly take a position or stand and attempt to clearly explain how you arrived at a conclusion, acknowledging that good people may differ.
3. We can be overly focused on what others say or want and lose sight of where we are going. It is one thing to be aware of what people think and feel. It is good to invite input and collaboration. Yet, far too many leaders become frozen in indecision.
4. We can talk repeatedly about what someone said or did that was wrong, and create a cloud of negativity over the group.
5. We can attempt to make everybody happy. We can live with the illusion that there is some way that we can achieve this in our church. As a result, progress loses out to the pursuit of happiness.
What Christian leaders can do to develop more endurance:
1. Deal with the elephants in the room. Name them and write them down. What is sucking the life and energy out of our minister group or elder group? You know the elephants. This is what church leaders often talk about on the parking lot after the meeting.
2. Make a decision, no matter how small, and follow through. Indecision is a huge energy drainer. Even decisions that may seem relatively small but are followed by one step forward can give great encouragement to a leadership and congregation.
3. Focus on your own functioning instead of focusing on everyone else. “What are you going to say?” “What are you going to do?” “How will you choose to spend your time at work?” If you will focus on your emotional growth, your spiritual growth, and your growth as a leader, you will experience less stress.
4. When you focus on yourself and your own functioning, you will be calmer and more relaxed. That, in turn relaxes others.