As the Youth Ministry Leadership Exchange came to a close, the team from Orange, DYM, and Fuller urged us to turn our focus inward. While we all probably agree that we should put God first and others second by serving them, so often in ministry, we completely about ourselves. And yes, we should be serving, but if we aren’t in a good place, we won’t be able to serve well.

Doug Fields started off this last session talking about a recent train crash, pointing out several observations:

  • They were traveling too fast in a location that required it to be slow.
  • There had been another crash there before.
  • The warning lights were working.
  • The driver was talking on his cell phone.

Similar to the train crash, our personal crashes in ministry are not new crashes — we’ve seen them before, the warning lights were fairly obvious, and the leaders are often distracted by poor choices.

Doug reminded us that even though there are a lot of high expectations and pressure in ministry, we lead by example (1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 1 Corinthians).

He then shared that the image of a spiritual leader is not a CEO. The image of a spiritual leader is, however, a good father and mother in a family. A spiritual leader is someone who lives a life worthy of imitation.

Then, he said something incredibly harsh but so true: “If you don’t win at home, your leadership is empty and shallow; you’re just teaching theory, and theory won’t change lives!”

Doug closed with several points we need to remember:

  • Realize anyone can do your job. Sorry…
  • Realize anyone can do your ministry. Sorry…
  • Not anyone can be the spouse, parent, etc. you are called to be.
  • Develop your NO muscle. Every yes to your ministry is a no to your family. Saying no requires a strong sense of self.
    • Your church isn’t going to change.
    • The expectations on you aren’t going to be reduced.
    • Your pastor and colleagues aren’t going to slow down.
  • There’s one Savior, and you’re not Him.

We wrapped up with a quick panel discussion with Reggie Joiner, Doug Fields, and Kara Powell, where they confined the conversation of self-care. In this, two big points stood out to me:

  • Busyness is not always better. Busyness is often a sign of brokenness.
  • Sometimes you need to kill something that is living to let something else thrive.

So, how are you doing with self-care? Have you forgotten about yourself in the middle of pouring into others? What has helped you in this area? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

For all my posts from YMLX 2018, click here.

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