Check Your Pace and Pulse

Why you need to pay attention to how you are pacing yourself in ministry.

I have recently started to push myself in working out more consistently by running several miles per week. I normally run around 10 miles per week. As I begin to run more I am clear that there are two elements that are key: my pace and my pulse. My pace is my speed per mile and my pulse is related to my heart rate. If I don’t watch my pace I could run too fast or too slow, and while I might reach my goal, I may do so in a way that could cause injury. Related to my pace is my pulse, and if I am not mindful of this number I just really hurt myself. As I run, I watch both my pace and my pulse in order to ensure that I don’t just finish, but I finish strong and healthy.

A few months back, after establishing a rhythm and routine with time and distance, I ran with a friend who is faster than I am. We set out to run a certain distance in a certain amount of time. As we started to run, because he was in better condition than I was, we ran faster than I thought we would and I stayed within pace of him. After two miles, I realized I was running faster than I had ever run before and my pulse was fine. However, at the end of the fourth mile I realized that his pace continued to increase and if I was going to finish I needed to slow down my pace to match my pulse. I told him to continue to run at his pace, and I would be behind at my pace.

Once we finished, I still ran faster than I had ever run before, but just a few seconds or maybe a minute behind him. This made me think of our churches and how sometimes we have our own pace and pulse that we know, and alone we can do really well, but when we look at other churches and work with other leaders they can make us better and we can make them better. However, if we fall into the trap of competing and comparing ourselves to them without realizing that we were made differently we can injure ourselves or risk not finishing. When I told my friend to continue at his pace, I could still see him and I could even see where he moved around objects that I wasn’t close too, but would be coming my way.

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OK what does all of this mean? I believe it is important for us as pastors and ministry leaders to watch our pace in ministry, not to go too fast or go too slow, but stay on a pace that works for us and what we can do. As we’re mindful of our pace—how many ministry events we have happening at one time or in one season—we also should be mindful of our pulse. If our pulse is off or too high, we risk not finishing at all, and risk getting injured as well. Watch your pace and your pulse in ministry and get around people who will push you. However, remember that each of us is made differently and, as such, our pace and our pulse are our own.

How is your pace and your pulse?

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