Archives for : Leaders health


Are you feeling the weight of making a lot of decisions, being unsure of those decisions, along with their impact?  Are you experiencing some “decision fatigue.”  These uncharted times have made novices out of all of us because, if we are honest, we live with the reality of knowing we are inexperienced in facing pandemics.  How do we stay connected with our people?  What does pastoral care and assimilation look like in our new normal?  When should we re-enter our buildings?  When is it ok to disobey laws (Romans 13:1-6)?  

Carey Nieuwhof says, “It’s easier to find relief from the pace than from the weight.  Pace can be controlled fairly easy…Weight is what you feel.  Weight is the tremendous responsibility many people find impossible to ignore…weight is the stress you feel.”  The apostle Paul mentions this weight in II Corinthians 11 where he lists a multitude of external things that created many difficulties.  Then in verse 28 he says, “Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.”  The weight of ministry is real.

There is a weight that a shepherd carries and it is something you fell deep within your soul.  The good news is that you do not have to carry this weight alone.  God promised Paul in II Corinthians 12 that, “My grace is sufficient!”  Our strength to carry this weight comes first from the Lord.  Your doing things for Christ must come out of your being with Christ because He is the one who strengthens and sustains you.  Paul continues in II Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves.  Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?”    

Paul challenged the Galatians to carry one another’s burdens.  No one should travel alone and everyone needs other people to walk this journey with them.  Pride causes you to think that you can handle anything and places the unrealistic weight on your shoulders that you always have to have the answers and know what to do.  You need an existing support team in place that can encourage you, pray for you, and hold you accountable.  In an emergency on a plane you are told to first put on your oxygen mask (abide in Christ) then help others (bear their burdens).

Here is a testimony from Doug Brewer while attending one of our Activate Pastor Huddles through Zoom.  “I hit a struggle on Monday that I have never had before. It really messed with my head! On Tuesday I took my phone and typed in a phrase: decision drain. When I hit search it popped up with the topic of ‘Decision Fatigue.’  I’m considerably better but even in the times of the tornados (May of 2013) and the bombing of the Murrah Building in 1995 (and we lost three ladies in that) I have never been exactly here before.” 

“I’ve been intrigued by the topic of DECISION FATIGUE. I’ve been helped by talking to a couple of men at the church, a couple of pastors and just being full blown, straight up honest! When we make decisions we have to make the same decision five or six times based on the people it’s going to effect.  It’s easy when you don’t know the people and speak into someone else’s life and say just close the building down.  It’s different when it’s your people and you’ve known some of them since they were born and watched them grow up” 

“Now they’re graduating.  I don’t want to say no! So decisions like: inside, how often; outside?… what do we do, what do we not do?  It started to build on me!  When it came to squeezing the trigger and making decisions I kept thinking of  the 5 other decisions that potentially came with each individual decision.  What got in my head was that I’m in these meetings with Larry and all these other pastors and listening to a couple other groups.  It seems like everybody else has this together but I don’t.”  

“They are telling me their plans and I felt like I was the only sorry leader that doesn’t know plans much past tomorrow.  It gets in your head! My favorite thing to do is pastor! I love pastoring even more than I like preaching!  I LOVE to pastor!  What got in my head was “ you love pastoring, and like preaching, but Doug you’re a miserable leader!  This time calls for leadership.”  

“It all goes to say I’m grateful for some men and I needed to let other people in. The podcast (Healthy Church Podcast) refreshed me.  I have some really good people around me! I had to say  ‘I’m going to be 100 percent honest with you.’  It was an internal head thing, but its like puppy love… Don’t make fun of it because it’s real to the puppy!”  

I am so thankful for authentic and transparent leaders willing to say, “I do not have it all figured out!”  Carey Nieuwhof says, “Only humility will get you out of what pride got you into!”  During these turbulent times may we first lean on Jesus and then lean on one another.  We need to see less pride and more humility.  We need to see more cooperation and compassion and less cynicism and negativity. 

The Why Comes Before the What

The why means everything in anything you attempt to do but especially in the work of the ministry.  Most people can explain what they do and how they do it but many struggle when they are asked to explain the why.  Simon Sinek says this about the why, “Its goal (Start With Why) is not to give you a course of action.  Its goal is to offer you the cause of action.”  The shepherd boy David said it well when he could not understand the army’s reluctance to go out and face Goliath, “Is there not a cause?” The why is far more important than the how or the what!  You must not underestimate nor devalue the significance of motives!

We make a huge mistake when we raise our children always asking what they plan do when they grow up more than stressing “who” they will become in Christ.  “What” is certainly important but there are a multitude of “whats” that anyone can do for the honor and glory of God.  It is much easier to determine and identify the job and skill sets an individual has to make them successful.  Personal ability and knowing the right “stuff” can be learned by anyone who is interested and willing to be instructed. The harder areas are knowing ourselves and walking with Christ.  Make sure you know who you are in Christ!

We figure out what we want to do and then we also discover how to do what we want to do.  Most people know what they can and cannot do but they can also explain how they do it.  If you are having difficulty with what you want to do with the apps on your phone just hand it to a 12 year old and they will be happy to show you how.  All too often we as a church get so wrapped up in what we do and how we should do it that we forget why we are doing what we are doing.  Hopefully, we do what we do for Christ and how we do it so that He receives all the honor and glory.  Never forget that motives matter!

Church, why do you exist?  Are your values aspirational or are you acting out the values you say you have?  This helps to ensure that we are not just focused on results but being faithful to the One who has called us.  Remember, who you are is far more important to Him than what you do!  It is not, first and foremost, about a job description but rather about a personal daily relationship with Him.  When you really understand why you do what you do that is what gets you up in the morning, gets you through the difficult seasons, and keeps you energized.  We continually are asking, “Lord, am I being who you want me to be?”

Sociologists are telling the church that we have lost at least two generations and points out some common characteristics these generations have.  At best, we know we now live in a postmodern and some say a post-Christian culture.  Tolerance is valued at all costs and there is no absolute truth anymore.  Be who you want to be and decide who you are instead of bowing in submission to the creator who designed you and made you who you are.  Is there not a cause with these lost generations?  Are we not here to tell them why they are here and why Jesus died for them?

We are told by O.S. Hawkins that these lost generations are:

  1. Searching for meaningful relationships!
  2. Seeking immediate gratification!
  3. Wanting something for nothing!
  4. Desiring guilt-free living!
  5. Searching for prosperity!

Only the church holds the answers in the word of God and can meet all five needs of these lost generations.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  Why do we do this?  To share the truth of God and allow that truth to set people free.  It is the only truth that can provide true freedom and we have been entrusted with that truth.

  • Why do you study to show yourself approved and faithfully preach the word of God week after week?  Hopefully, it is because you know the power of the gospel and believe with every fiber of your being that it is the only answer for all of man’s problems. You believe that it has the power to break the chains of bondage with which the devil has enslaved so many. Why do you read it every day and meditate on it?  Because you believe it will not change you in a day but when you are in it daily it will change you!
  • Why do you pray and cry out to God? Hopefully, it is because you believe that prayers do make a difference.  You believe that even if it does not change your situation it does change you and causes you to become who He wants you to be.  You know that God inclines His ear toward those who call out to Him.  D.L. Moody said it well, “He who kneels the most, stands the best.”  John Bunyan challenged us to realize, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.”  The why is answered in that we seek to lean into His presence longing to know Him closer and better.
  • Why do you share your faith?  Hopefully, it is because you believe in the power of the gospel to save all who believe.  You believe in the why so strongly that you know that someone trusting in Christ as their Lord and Savior does not rely on how great of a salesman you are.  You share His word, you cry out for the Holy Spirit to do His work of regeneration, and you trust in the power of the gospel. Why do we faithfully share the gospel through our lives and with our lips?  Because we understand that is why He saved us!

The why is all about God’s glory and that is what gives us the passion, purpose, and perseverance to continue to be who He called us to be. Then we can prayerfully determine what He wants us to do and how He wants us to do it!