How many of you have had moments like this poor pastor, completely frustrated and overwhelmed with the needs that your people have?
What overwhelms pastors are BEEPS. What can you as a pastor, or someone in a counseling position in your church, do in response to pernicious problems of BEEPS and their related behaviors? Most people call these addictions, but we feel the acronym BEEPS works better.
Some of today’s information is in the new Joy Starts Here book which Chris, Sheila Sutton, Jim Wilder and Ed Khori wrote. It is in BETA form; we hope you get a copy, test it and join them in the online forum at www.joystartshere.com. The book is designed to help groups and individuals look at how to create an environment of transformation in your church, in your family and in your school.
Two simple equations for pastors and leaders. Joy makes the difference between ministry that is life giving and ministry that burns you out. Compassion + the desire to make a difference + the call of God + joy can = LIFE. Compassion + the desire to make a difference + the call of God but no joy = DEATH
Without joy, sooner or later you tend to burnout or develop a strong mask that does not allow much through. You lose connection with your heart and the whole reason you went into ministry to start with. Working with BEEPS has an incredible ability to drain anybody’s capacity.
Grow Your Own Joy —
You must grow your own joyful capacity. People with BEEPS tend to carry a lot of pain. And whenever you are working with BEEPS you are almost always also working with trauma. (A trauma is an experience that you do not have the capacity to process at the time.) People with BEEPS are loaded with pain. Your joy bucket must be more full of joy than the pain bucket of the person you are working with.
When brains feels joy, you feel—“Oh, yes! Life makes sense, life works. I can do this!”
- Joy is simply a way of expressing God’s grace to other people.
- Joy is God’s grace that says, I am so glad to be with you! I love you. I care about you. I have this wonderful relationship to offer you!”
- Our response when God is glad to be with us like that is absolute joy—“Wow! God is glad to be with me!”
The problem is that in the absence of joy your fear circuitry tends to be way over active; when you approach people who have counseling issues related to BEEPS you are going to be more afraid of them and their problems than glad to be with them. They will figure that out in about 40 milliseconds because the brain knows how to do that. And the entire environment of your counseling session becomes based in managing a problem instead of being based in joy. Without joy, people become problems to manage rather than people to love and care for.
Places to Grow Joy — There are two places you can grow joy. The first place is with God. God absolutely loves you and delights to be with you. He loves to keep your joy bucket full and wants to stay interactively connected with you all the time. You can
talk to Him about things that are hard
share appreciation with Him
- celebrate victories and good things
God will validate and comfort you when things are going bad and let you know what to do! So grow your relationship with God to stay interactively connected with Him.
You can grow joy in your relationships with other people. Sharing joy in relationships with others is sharing God’s grace between the two of you. Interactions with God and others is what keep your joy buckets full.
Joy is foundational for anything you do—even if you make mistakes, if you do it with joy, they are less likely to be catastrophic. Everything goes better with joy!
- Thank God for three things today as it relates to your life, relationships, health (find some good!) and weather.
- Thank God for three things from your week.
- Thank God for three things from your month.
Blessings, Carol Brown, B.A., M.A.C.I. and Chris Coursey http://www.thrivetoday.org/pastorsweekly.html
This post is based on a talk for Pastor’s Weekly by Ed Khori, April 18, 2013.