Caring for Your Church (without Wearing Yourself Out!), Part 1 by Mark Harrell

If you are going to stay in ministry and not wear yourself out caring for your church, you’re going to need to develop a balanced life. I’m going to relate this for a moment to cycling:

My oldest son and I began cycling about 15 years ago. For the first year, we just tried to figure out what we were doing and keep up with other cyclists. We had pretty good bikes with regular pedals, but once we got into using clipped-in pedals, you have to learn the balance of pushing and pulling. You can perform better, go faster, climb better. But if you don’t know how to unclip, you’re going down. You’re going to crash.

To develop a balanced life, you need to focus on balancing your family and ministry. How do you do this? Primarily, be present. Just be present with your family. It’s so easy to be there but not be there. Be intentional about doing special activities with your family and demonstrating a life of victory to your kids. I think that’s one of the greatest ways for you to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, because you want your children serving God and you want to make sure your wife is being nurtured. If you can keep some simple things like that in play, you will develop a great balance.

To develop a balanced life, you need to focus on balancing your ministry and rest.

When I first started in ministry, I almost felt guilty if I was taking time off.  I felt like I had to be giving, giving, giving and that’s wrong.  It was truly wrong on my part. So I want to encourage you, if you are like me, to develop a hobby and do some things that help you totally unplug. When you can take better care of yourself, unplug and rest, you’ll take better care of the church and not wear yourself out.

To develop a balanced life, you need to focus on balancing the mental and spiritual.

We feed ourselves so much all day long: news, sports, books, podcasts, etc. But are we truly feeding our spirit? Are we spending ample time with the Lord, in the Word, in prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your life? Psalm 139 gives us David’s prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…” If you slow down and spend time with God on a daily basis, you will balance your mental and spiritual health.

To develop a balanced life, you need to focus on balancing passion and peace.

Now, I love passion. I love to be around people who are motivated. I love to be fired up, focused, and full of energy. I love it! You’ve got to have that if you’re going to accomplish anything for God. Yet, I’ve been around some ministers who are so driven they would make coffee nervous! So you’ve got to learn to balance your goals and vision with peace. And this is a struggle! Peace is the ability to put things in perspective. You’ve got to be able to keep things in perspective if you’re not going to wear yourself out. It’s all going to work out in time. Just take your index finger right now, hold it up, keep it out there – that’s like eternity. That’s the broad picture. I can see the thing I’m passionate about, but I see everything else. When I’m getting out of balance, it’s like closing one eye and pulling my finger toward my eye. All I see is what I want, what I’m after, my goal, my perspective. But with a balanced life, I choose to see the bigger picture beyond what I’m passionate about.

Another thing you’re going to need to do if you are going to stay in ministry and not wear yourself out caring for your church is cultivate the right attitudes. Your attitudes affect your altitude. That’s why you have to examine your attitudes from time to time.

You must have an attitude of humility. The whole “big shot, little shot” idea needs to be thrown out the window. That’s what I love about Significant Church: Everyone here is significant. It’s not about the size of the church; it’s about the people in the church; it’s about the pastor and his family and the leadership. They are important, and we love them so much.

God has great leaders all over this world. You get around them and you realize, “Wow! I’ve got a long way to go!” And then you meet a widow, and her call is to intercede and pray and she does it with such joy. It just keeps you balanced. It just keeps you going forward without wearing yourself out thinking you have to do everything – because you can’t! Just learning how not to take offense, not react and such develops humility. Lord, help me, help us, with that!

You must have an attitude of servanthood. I purposefully try every week to think of something I can do that is totally servant oriented. Jesus washed feet. What puts you into servant mode? That keeps me grounded, and it makes me appreciate the things that are important to the Lord. Servanthood is not a timewaster. It will help you not wear yourself out with administration and stuff of that nature. You might not feel you’re getting far when you only help one person or do something for one family, but it helps you more than you know!

You must have an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful aerates your soul. Be intentional about choosing gratitude over grumbling and complaining. Every morning, start with appreciation for what the Lord has done, what He’s doing, and what He’s going to do. When you do, you won’t wear out!

You must have an attitude of honor. Our present culture loves to dice individuals and pick people apart. We have to be careful that we never get into that mode in our own life. Let’s be people who show honor. I love to respect people. “Yes, sir.” “Yes, ma’am.” Stand as someone comes into the room that needs to be recognized. Listen and choose not to talk when somebody’s talking to you. Lean in a little bit and look them in the eye. That’s honoring. If you do these things and have an attitude of honor, you won’t wear yourself out and it will help you care for your church properly.

Want to learn what else you can do to care for your church without wearing yourself out? Check back next time for the second part of this blog. In it, we’ll talk about the importance of organizing your life and being flexible as you lead others!