In the last post I introduced you to Chris Coursey. He and I are co-authoring a book that at this point we think will be called Joy Starters. Pastors are in a unique position to influence their families, their churches and their communities. We want to pass on practical things that you can implement that will grow joy and bring hope. Chris will be talking a lot about joy and how that little three letter work can revolutionize you ministry, rejuvenate your life and rekindle your marriage.
As a way of exploring the issues that pastors—both men and women—face, Chris has started a Pastor’s Weekly web/teleconference thing. If you would be interested in an interactive event where you can weigh in, ask questions, or share stories, at http://www.thrivetoday.org/pastorsweekly.html. The Pastor’s Weekly meets every Thursday during the lunch hour, which rotates between the time zones. This blog will parallel the webcasts and augment them. So this post will be about the resources that inform what you hear on the webcasts.
One of Chris’s motivations in all of this is that he spent a large portion of his life feeling like he was not being who God created him to be—not a good feeling. When he came across The Life Model, it answered a lot of his questions and provided a road map to help him grow and build joy, be a better father and husband and lead a successful ministry. Many of us (men and women) in the ministry battle with this same issue of feeling that we are not measuring up—it saps your strength and damages your feelings of worth and belonging when that is running in the background!
This week I want to introduce you to the resources that are behind JoyStreams.
The Life Model
- The Life Model is a model for human community across all ages and cultures.
- It helps equip us with skills, tools and character growth to express the best of ourselves
- It is a practical guide teaching how to recover when things go wrong
- The Life Model gives clarity on what you need to be successful on good or bad days
- It helps to strengthen what is weak
- The Life Model highlights why you need the maturity that happens in a multigenerational community where some people have more maturity than you and some people have less maturity than you.
Most important is that you stay refreshed as you go along. The moment you become crispy yourself it is going to impact your marriage and/or ministry.
By following the “Immanuel Process” outlined in this small booklet you can learn to sense and be aware of God being with you which is a vital ingredient, not only in trauma recovery, but in your daily walk with Jesus. We will talk in the Pastor’s Weekly, and on this blog, of “The Immanuel Lifestyle,” which means to live in the awareness that God is with you on all days.
Then you need some practical skills on how to express the best of yourself under all conditions. We call them “relational brain skills;” we also call them “gentle protector skills.”
- These skills help you live according to and express your values
- These skills are strategic and joy based
We train in the 19 relational brain skills. There are 19 different brain skills that your brain needs to be trained in to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Human beings must be trained—a more mature brain to a less mature brain these skills are not instinctual!
The very first skill involves sharing joy. As you can see from this picture, joy is something that people are sharing.
You share joy because you see someone you are glad to be with and someone sees you and hopefully, they are glad to be with you — people want to express joy.
You may notice that in ministry some days you might be tired and overwhelmed. But if there is someone who is authentically glad to be with you that becomes the bright spot in your day. When the joy levels drop life is not pretty; it is not fun.
What is joy?
1. Joy is primarily very relational. It means quite simply that people are genuinely and authentically glad to be together. It is not a theoretical concept. You feel like you are the sparkle in someone else’s eyes. There is something about that feeling that is life giving; this is good.
Ideally as a pastor and leaders you want your joy levels very high. You want the joy levels of your staff and congregation very high. Getting it there is going to involve people authentically happy to be together. When you are not glad to be together that is okay too, it just means you practice returning to joy from those moments. I am not talking about an artificial smile that you have to wear because people are looking. That will just use up precious energy. What I am talking about is people who are authentically glad to be together. You convey that genuine gladness with your face and your voice tone.
2. Joy is the result of a tender response to weakness…which means — you are allowed to have weakness! Joy levels grow in the kind of environment where you are allowed to have weakness. You don’t have to hide it or try to be strong. You are interacting together; there is an exchange—our faces light up and joy grows.
For those who are married you also know when joy levels drop–your face no longer lights up and your spouse’s face no longer lights up. When joy levels sink you feel miserable. The good news is that you can change this. There are simple proactive things you can do to grow your joy levels.
An Action Step—Build Some Joy!
1. Take a moment and think of a time when someone was authentically glad to see you. What comes to your mind when you think “Who was glad to see me this morning?” Or, “Who was glad to see me yesterday?” What comes to your mind? Remember that moment. How does it feel, versus when you walk in a room and someone is not glad to see you? You can usually feel those moments in your stomach; your stomach will tell you about that one!
2. Think about the physical reactions—what do you see in their faces? What do you hear in their voices? What does their body language do? This is a relational joy. Savor the feeling.
3. Share your moment with a friend, co-worker or family member.
The Apostle John in 2 John had many things to write but he did not wish to do so when his readers were hurting. He wanted to come and speak to them face to face so their joy might be full. Jesus expressed a similar sentiment during the last supper when He talked about joy not only growing, but becoming full. If there is the opportunity for your joy becoming full, then there is also the opportunity for your joy levels to drop or sink. You don’t want that.
You want to work proactively to keep your joy levels full. When your joy levels are full it is going to be good for you. It is going to be good for your marriage and ministry because you are more likely to be at your best when joy levels are full. When they are depleted it is just not fun.
Do some joy and be blessed,