One final word on preventing leadership exhaustion through nurturing our spiritual relationship, then I’ll turn my focus on nurturing our emotional life. When intimate encounter with the Lord becomes less, we can make decisions based on our own understanding. This is where the enemy likes to confuse us. The saying that ‘everything that shines isn’t gold’ fits here. We may believe a certain adventure is a great ministry opportunity, but it may not be what God is asking of us at that time or at all. If we’re not hearing His voice, but deciding from our own understanding, it won’t be long before the ‘great opportunity’ leads to great exhaustion and disappointment. Spending time fine tuning our heads and hearts to hear the Holy Spirit allows us to decipher what is ‘gold’ from what is merely ‘shiny’.
What I am talking about here isn’t about a ritual, adding a yoke of slavery. I’m talking about freedom! True freedom comes in our intimate one-on-one time with the Lord. It’s about developing relationship, not religious rituals. It’s fine tuning our spirit to hear the voice of our Savior. The leader who does this, makes decisions with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. They don’t carry the burden of leadership on their shoulders, but they learn to put it on the Lord’s shoulders; who can fully carry it.
I don’t know many that have been leading a ministry for any length of time that don’t have some scars. Ministry involves relationships with people and frankly, we’re all messy! We will fail each other, we will hurt and offend one another. All of which leads to disappointment. This is why intimate time with the Lord is not an option or something to fit into our schedule. It’s as necessary to our Christian walk and ability to lead as oxygen is for breathing. We can’t afford to allow time with the Lord to slip away. It’s in that time that our Abba Father, our true daddy wants to speak into our hearts. He knows each of us better than we do and He knows what we need to be healed, restored and refocused.
I believe when we make time daily to connect with our Savior, moving at the Lord’s pace and not the world’s; we will put setbacks and disappointments in life in their proper place. I’m not saying we won’t hurt or have moments of anxiety and depression. I am saying we will have the necessary strength to continue through those difficult days. However, when we rush to meet man’s approval; trying to grow numbers, setting up meeting after meeting with this person and that group for fear of letting anyone down, we are well on our way to burn out and disenchantment with ministry and our Lord.
Peter Scazzero, who founded New Life Fellowship in Queens, NY learned the hard way the importance of slowing the pace of ministry and keeping one-on-one time with the Lord a top priority. He created a “Rule of Life” which includes taking a full 24 hour true Sabbath once a week and “Day Alone with God” once a month for all his staff members. Here is a link to New Life’s “rule of life”; http://newlifefellowship.org/docs/RuleOfLife.pdf
Scazzero points out, being successful isn’t just about measuring numbers, it’s about measuring the quality of life in yourself, your staff and church members. If you as a leader aren’t paying attention to the intimate areas of your life, your staff and congregation aren’t either. Scazzero has authored several books on Emotional Healthy Spirituality as well as offers a course in it. I highly recommend his material for all Christians, but especially leaders. www.emotionallyhealthy.org