It was a hot Oklahoma day in late May when I was thrust into my first ministry job. With very little experience, I eagerly said yes to serve 12 months with the youth ministry staff. Excitement covered every aspect of the new adventure, and much of my confidence came in the promise that I would be mentored and trained to grow into the role.
Everything was great…until July. The youth pastor who hired me and two other legacy players left the team. In less than two months, a friend and I were running the entire youth ministry.
Twelve months turned into four years as God grew my heart for ministry. Although I learned a lot by trial and error, my desire to do more was trumped by my lack of development for leading a ministry.
I started my search for an education program. After lots of searching, I found a fantastic three-year program that included hands-on training, seminary education, and mentoring that focused on my spiritual development. I packed up, said goodbye to the church I loved, and started the next step on my journey.
Every once and a while I look back and say ‘What if?’ What if I stayed in that ministry job that I wasn’t quite ready for and just kept trying harder to figure things out? When I imagine my tired soul in the middle of the demands of ministry, I’m thankful I choose the path to learn how to lead from a healthy soul.
Like many friends in ministry, I received great advice, but never gained the tools to develop a healthy rhythm or learn practical ways to stay connected to the vine while caring for so many people.
I think church leaders can lead from a healthy soul but it starts by doing ‘something’ about it. Maybe you’re like me, and you need to find a program. Not everyone has 3 years to devote to the type of training I had. So maybe you just need something build into you for a few months. Whatever your ‘something’ is, I hope you find it because your soul health is the core of your leadership. I believe it is possible!! And I’m thankful for the ministry work I now get to do with The LIFT Project because it offers leaders the chance to do ‘something’.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic- What do you think would happen in our churches if we started investing in the next generation so that they learn to lead from a healthy soul? What if leaders who have been at it for years started to prioritize their soul health and urged their staff to do the same?