Two Ways Leaders Reduce Stress & Increase Effectiveness in Ministry
By Jocelyn Hu
Tuesday's here again! You're a few days away from preaching your last message, you're five days from doing it all over again. Your leadership team wants time with you to go over Easter plans and you realize you're speaking at a memorial on Thursday. That's the regular cycle of ministry in full swing. Next thing you know, it will be Christmas. Oh my!
With this kind of schedule, it's easy to get worn down quickly, experience debilitating fatigue, become desensitized, even dull. That kind of weekly grind can decrease your passion, negatively affect your decision making, cloud your vision and reduce the fruit of your ministry. And that's just you. Your staff is feeling it as well.
How can you reduce your stress and increase your effectiveness in ministry? Practice these two habits: Number one, sharpen your skills. Take the time to hone your skills. Get better at the things you do. And number two, sharpen their skills. Invest in the skill development of the team around you. When you increase their effectiveness your effectiveness increases.
Sharpen Your Skills
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, "If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success." If you've got a dull ax and you're chopping wood, it takes more energy. But if you have a sharp ax, it doesn't take as much energy. So, work smarter, not harder. People say, "hard work brings success." We all know lots of people who work hard, but aren't successful. Why? It's because they're forcing it. Skill is the lubricant of success. Strengthen your talent, practice your craft, hone your skills and stop trying to wing it all the time. As the leader, you need to sharpen your skills to be a better leader.
The way a leader acquires new skills and sharpens existing ones is by learning. All leaders are learners. The moment you stop learning, you stop leading. The moment you, as a pastor, stop growing, your church will stop growing. You must always be developing, growing and becoming what God wants you to be.
Here are three things you can do as a learner to help reduce your stress and increase your effectiveness.
2. Register for a conference. There's a ton of conferences out there, pick one that you go to just for your development, not for your teams' inspiration.
3. Reach out to someone. Take a risk. Write, text, call or DM someone who you think is good at what they do and talk to them. Great leaders love investing in other leaders, they'll consider it a complement.
Sharpen Their Skills
When you sharpen the skills of a team you multiply your effectiveness. Jesus sharpened the skills of his followers by teaching them daily. The gospels give account of Jesus' investment in his followers and his disciples. In Luke 4:15, we see that Jesus "taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone." That 'regular' teaching changed the lives of some ordinary fisherman and turned them into an effective team of apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists. Jesus was investing the most time in those who would eventually carry the greatest burden of leadership in the mission of the gospel. He knew that his investment would reap a great harvest.
Do you make time to train your team? Do you 'regularly' talk about the mission, share the vision, teach your values and sharpen their skills? If you're not and you're wondering how to do that, here's an idea: set aside time in your staff meeting to train them. Before you get into the meeting, teach them 'how-to' do ministry at your church. If you need some practical training material, click here for a place to get started. John Maxwell once said, "When the team you have doesn't match up to the team of your dreams, you have only two choices: Give up your dream, or grow up your team." Do yourself a favor, train your people, invest time in them, help them sharpen and hone their skills.
Here are three things you can encourage your team to do as learners to reduce their stress and increase their effectiveness.
1. Read something. Here's a great resource and encouragement for your staff.
2. Register for a conference. If you have an assistant, someone who directly contributes to your personal effectiveness, sign them up for this conference. It's a great investment!
3. Reach out to someone. Encourage your staff to reach out to other staff in churches who are where you want to be and learn from them. If you'd like more information on targeted training programs for your staff, email Phillip Congelliere at firstname.lastname@example.org. Saddleback has intensive training sessions that your church staff can be a part of.
Throughout human history, whatever the endeavor, great individuals always had teams of people supporting them along the way. Great teams with sharp skills can accomplish great things for God. Get a start today on growing yourself and your team by sharpening your skills and theirs. Their ability to handle more will take a load off you and reduce your stress.