Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dealing The The Pressure Cooker Reality of Ministry

I read an article by Carey Nieuwhof and wanted to share it online. It details the biggest mistake/struggle a longtime minister has made. He described it as “knowing how to handle the pressure of ministry.” Here are some exceprts and major points from his post:

Ministry brings pressure that seems to be unique to the calling. I love ministry and am so thankful to have been called into it, but with it comes pressures that is well, just different. Here’s my theory as to why ministry is such a pressure cooker for many. Ministry combines three areas of life that are intensely personal:
  • Your faith
  • Your work
  • Your community
Because of that, it gets confusing. 
  • What you do is what you believe.
  • What you believe is what you do.
  • Your friends are also the people you serve and lead.

Throw your family into the mix (because they believe what you believe and are friends with the people you/they lead and serve) and bam — it’s even more confusing. Due to this, things that normally happen "at work" very seldom stay "at work." The pressure can lead to problems that impact your home, your life, and even your faith.

Here are six habits that have helped me learn to handle the pressure of ministry well:  
1.     Understand the perfect storm of work/faith/community: Church world is the only place I know of where what you believe is what you do and the people you serve are also your friends. You need to understand this. Understanding why something is emotionally confusing is the first step toward untangling the confusion.
2.     Find friends who aren’t in your church or organization: Be friends with the people you live with and serve, but find some friends you can talk to about anything.
3.     Don’t base tomorrow’s decisions on today’s emotions.
4.     Seek a Christian counselor.
5.     Develop a devotional life that has little to do with work: One of the casualties of serving in the church is your devotional life. You get too busy or you "cheat" and make your sermon or lesson prep your devotional time as well. Don’t. God loves you for who you are, not for what you do.
6.     Develop a hobby or interest outside of work.

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