No. 1: Make time for a personal spiritual retreat.
Get away to a nearby place for 48 hours to recharge your energy, pray, study Scripture and practice the spiritual disciplines most meaningful to your own growth in God. You may have a great retreat center nearby. Or simply jump on a website like www.priceline.com (use www.biddingfortravel.com) to find out what to bid and grab a place where you can get quiet and seek God.
No. 2: Develop a mentoring relationship.
Sometimes dips in our own ministry are a result of pouring out into a meaningful relationship. Prayerfully consider whose life God may be calling you to invest in and pour into. Who can you help raise up as a leader and passionate lover of Jesus in the next generation? As you develop this relationship and become a voice of encouragement, you’ll be amazed at how this person becomes a voice of encouragement in your own life.
No. 3: Turn off your technology.
Technology is a convenient blessing in many ways, but it often lends excess noise and stress to our lives. Exit out of Facebook and Twitter, shut down your computer, turn off your pager and phone, even if only for 10 minutes. The silencing of technology will give you a sense of peace for those precious minutes. The world existed before you came into the picture, and it will continue to run without you for those 10 minutes.
No. 4 Talk to the people on the margins.
Learning to brace yourself against the self-appointed critics in the church is easy—those individuals who tell you when you weren’t on your A-game in teaching, who inform you of the typo in the church bulletin, who remind you the service went eight minutes over for the second week in a row. We need these people to keep us on our A-game, but to prevent a ministry dip, we also need to seek out those who will disappear without ever opening their mouths. Often these people have insights and abilities to forecast what others are still trying to find words to express. Listen to the people on the margins and invite their helpful feedback.
No. 5: Mine your church’s goldmine.
In our church, God often gives goldmines of talent, fresh ideas and energy that go completely untapped. Odds are that in your church, you have people who are busting at the seams with gifts your church could really use. Maybe you have a graphic designer who can help freshen up your handouts or slides for your sermon series. Maybe you have a young leader who would love the opportunity to teach, preach or share for a portion of the weekend service. Maybe you have a teenager who is incredibly gifted with a video camera and could spruce up your announcements or online promotional videos. Seek out new talent in your church and give people the opportunity to use their God-given gifts to serve and help others.
No. 6: Engage in activities that bring you to life.
Pressed with demands on every side, being weighed down with the tasks at hand is simple to do—whether the tasks are preparing for the next sermon, fundraising, counseling or managing the staff. When was the last time you were intentional about engaging in an activity that brings you to life? What do you love to do? What are the activities that afterward leave you feeling better than before you did them? Maybe it’s a sport or creative outlet or being outside in nature. Whatever the activity, make time to do what gives you life so you can minister and serve out of a place of life.
No. 7: Spot-check your health.
Preaching a sermon is hard to do when you’re sick in bed with a thermometer down your throat. Are you getting enough sleep? Whenever you shut your eyes to snooze, your body uses the time to fight off bacteria and viruses and to rejuvenate. Are you eating your vegetables? Veggies are not regulated to the kid’s corner of the cafeteria. Eating a balanced diet supplies your body with nutrients it needs to continue serving. When was the last time you exercised? Regular exercise strengthens your body, improves self-esteem, boosts good cholesterol, lowers fatty triglycerides and moves your blood to reduce the risk of heart problems.
No. 8: Develop healthy friendships.
Ministry seeps up time better than a sponge in water. At times, the last thing you want to do is engage other people. But the priceless benefits of having a healthy friendship far outweigh the bad. In a healthy friendship, you will both give and receive encouragement. Build a support network you can trust. A good friend gives warning signs when you become too stressed out and provides a safe place to talk. A solid friendship also grounds you in a sense of normalcy and companionship.
No. 9: Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
Problems and to-do lists seem to bleed into every area of your life. Learning to say no is not a sin. Overextending yourself spreads you thin and keeps you from doing your best in every situation. Setting boundaries is key to living a balanced and healthy life. If you know you can’t complete a certain project, delegate it to someone who does have the time and energy. Protect your family time by declaring it sacred. Your family appreciates when they have your full attention.
No. 10: Laugh and embrace the gift of joy.
Proverbs 17:22 recognizes the important impact of a cheery spirit: “A joyful heart is good medicine.” Spend time with people who make you laugh. Rent a funny movie or take your family to a family-friendly comedy show. Borrow a book of your favorite childhood comic strips. Smile and rejoice in the gift of joy.
What would you add to the list?