These four reminders will help you keep going when the going gets tough and you face discouragement.
As leaders, what inspires us to stay strong, keep growing and keep committed to what God is calling us to do without giving up?
1. Remember it’s roots before fruits.
People are quick to celebrate what they see a person doing but tend to forget that what was sown determined it’s success. We don’t live in a heavily agrarian society like in the past, but the Bible is clear that what we sow, we reap (Gal. 6:8). Many focus on the negative context, but what about the hope in those words. If you are leading an organization or a team, what you say and do will produce fruit. If you want to see your organization have a heart to help others, then take them to places where others are hurting. If you want to have a generous church, then talk about the power of giving, etc. What you sow is seed that produces roots that leads to fruits. The reality is, it’s what’s underground that really matters.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others because your obedience will never look the same but the blessing is guaranteed.
Comparison traps are far too easy to fall into. The more I follow others in social media, the more I find myself sizing myself up. When we do nothing but look through the Instagram lens for what God is doing through other people, we are simply getting a snapshot of their lives. Social media is a billboard, not a journal. Ministry is hard, whether it’s 10 people or ten thousand. You’re called to fulfill what God has called you to do … not someone else.
3. Become better at responding to God than making altars.
That’s old-school lingo to simply say, reduce the high amount of spiritual activity in your life and choose to seek God first, as often as you can, when you can. We become good at being concerned about helping others become better spiritually at the expense of neglecting our own walk with God. Your yes to God’s request will produce far better results for you and others than your yes to everybody else’s requests. A well that is dry is just a hole in the ground but a well that is full of water becomes a source of life for a whole community.
4. In your weakest moments God is always the strongest.
Your maturity is evident when your leadership becomes less how you feel and more about your faith. We have to move beyond emotion to believe that God loves us just the same when we’re at our worst and when we’re at our best. It takes faith to believe that God will use us in our least confident moments to produce a strong result to affirm our leadership. Strength is not measured by might or power but by God’s Spirit (2 Cor. 12:9; Zech. 4:6). So allow your weakest moments to become the strongest moments with God to produce the greatest faith you have ever seen.
Alan Pastian is a campus pastor at River Valley Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota, an Outreach 100 church (No. 23 Fastest-Growing, No. 46 Largest). For more: AlanPastian.com