Did seminary prepare you for the reality of the pastorate? I’m guessing there are some weeks the burdens of the entire congregation roll down hill and stop at your desk. Life hits you out of left field. You run flat out all week and Saturday night you find yourself staring at a blank sheet of paper, experiencing writer’s block.
During crunch times, most of us fall back reflexively on what we know to do. For some this means you white knuckle it. You know Jesus is the answer to the problems you see around you—the church member who has a problem with rage, the “difficult” staff person, the couple that seems always to be in a relational crisis…so many people sick, programs lagging in attendance, lack of volunteers… So you work harder and longer; it’s what you know to do. But you are a person, not a machine and you cannot push through all that pain (yours as well as others) and responsibility indefinitely.
How long did it take you to lose the joy of ministry—or at least have it dulled? What do you do? Who does the pastor talk to, unload on? Where do you go to vent? Find inspiration? What’s missing? How do you get the joy back? I don’t recall my husband learning how to grow joy in seminary or the risks of low joy.
I heard a leader say he had a week where he felt like he was “a goldfish in a blender.” It would take some powerful swimming to stay on top of that swirling mass! Sounds like overwhelm to me. These are the times it would be a good idea to practice taking a breather, a time out instead of pushing and risking ruptures to relationships—skill #3 of the 19 relational brain skills.
And what to do with the writer’s block on the sermon? Try taking a joy break. Spend 10-15 minutes growing joy with a family member, then practice skill #15 of seeing from God’s perspective. Ask what He saw in the week and what He would like to say to the people. Hope that helps!
You don’t have to learn these skills the hard way!
2014 US THRIVE 5-day Training (Tracks I-III)
At the very top of the page, click the “Training” tab.
Step 3: Share with us in the comment section what you didn’t learn in seminary and had to learn the hard way.
May your joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris
Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com