The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Ministry in 2021
Starting Fresh in the New Year
Swimming or sinking, we have made it to a new year. For many pastors, church leaders, and lay leaders, the last year has brought seasons of unique difficulty and burnout. How have you been?
According to the Barna Group, "As of August 13-17, 2020, while half of U.S. pastors rated their mental and emotional well-being as excellent (12%) or good (38%), a significant amount noted this area of health as average (31%) or below (20%)."1 That means about half of pastors considered their mental and emotional health as not good. In comparison with data in April 2020 and research in 2016, Barna gives us perspective in summing this change as "both sobering and concerning."
As we create new goals for 2021 and reflect on the year we have just closed, may we refocus on the most important thing we can do for our ministries. So how would you like to see your outreach develop in the year ahead? The answer may be more connected to how well you are faring than you might have imagined.
The Importance of Who You Are as a Person
Your person is the key tool that God uses for building His Kingdom. The truth that we as ministers often forget is that God is as interested in what you are becoming as in what you are doing.
God is as interested in what you are becoming as in what you are doing.
Pastors and church leaders are in the health and wholeness business. In a recent collaborative study from the Boone Center for the Family and the Barna Group, 48% of all practicing Christians turn to a pastor, priest, or another leader at their church when they are experiencing a crisis or relational hardship.2 One of the best things about being in ministry is seeing the transformation in the lives of others; but to journey with others, we must also be on the trajectory of transformation. If we do not allow God to transform our brokenness, we will transmit it to our disciples. Though it may at first seem noble, neglecting self-awareness is a disservice to the people we serve. God cares about our personal growth because he uses who we are in addition to what we do.
You are a Person Before You are a Leader
Often, leaders don't get into trouble because they forget they are leaders, but because they forget they are persons. I want to give you permission to give yourself permission to just be a person sometimes. We all have blind spots and vulnerabilities. In fact, it is in those places where we often see God do some of the most powerful transformative work.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28
It is only the dawn of the new year. May God's rest and renewal find you so that you may thrive in ministry through whatever comes your way in 2021.
1 The Barna Group (2020) "3 Insights to Help Pastors Care for their Church This Season".
2 The Barna Group and The Boone Center for the Family (2020) Restoring Relationships, 76.
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