When is the last time you did something fun? Or at least spontaneous? This has been my new lifestyle, living life to the fullest, and quite honestly I think most ministry leaders have missed out on it. There is something I have found about ministry, both full and part time is that it takes your whole life. Your day off is never "off". There is always an email to be sent, a student to talk to, a song to learn, a graphic to make, to make the church or organization move forward, or at least have your duties checked off to avoid confrontation. This is so disheartening because these are the people, pastors, leaders, that are supposed to be pouring into people, not just doing tasks and when they don't have their time off, how can we expect them to pour into us? Being out of "church leadership" now, I reflect back now and see how far gone I was. I never got rest, and when I did I was nervous about Sunday or a conversation I had to have or have already had. There was always a last minute meeting you have to attend and this one was "special" but it happened all the time. For me in this season, I have set better boundaries, though I am still heavily in ministry I have found that being outside of a paid position in the church that life is much better. I can have a day off, where I get to rest and hangout with others. I feel like I have no stress, even though I work in one of the most stressful jobs, summer camp! Leaders, you have to take time for you. Though you may feel high and mighty, that feeling wears off and you will find your passion being robbed and your joy no longer present. Time take for yourself, away from work. There will always be work to do, always another job or meeting. Time will not let you take a break if you don't make it. This week, take a moment for yourself, even if it's not made for you, make it. I encourage you because I have seen so many leaders go down this burnout path, including myself and it's hard to get back on track without totally quitting it all. Don't get too far gone, don't let others rob your passion and joy all the time. Take the time for yourself and then deal with others. There will always be another problem, conversation, meeting, etc., but never another moment for you. Go do something crazy, that you've never done before. Do something you've always wanted to while you can.
One sad thing about the Church, is that we're so far behind. In putting loads of administrative weekly tasks on creative leaders, we limit their time or ability to create due to the stress of the "tasks". As a creative leader myself, I have to carve out time to get alone to dream and create, if not, I never will. You can get so overwhelmed with meeting deadlines, or get so drained that you don't feel like trying to make anything else new, you're just maintaining what you have. Creative personalities rarely enjoy managing, they enjoy creating. This is where it gets dangerous. We start managing and not creating and this leads us to burn out, not feeling like we're in our calling, and eventually leads to us leaving where we are in search of the new thing. In order for creative people to stay in the church, continue dreaming, creating, moving and shaking the areas they need to be around new and progressive things. Without progress and change, we can push ourselves directly to our demise. I encourage you, take time aside and create something, regardless of what it is. The church needs to be ahead of the game, not following behind what others do. Continue to learn new things, try methods that have never been used, regardless if the congregation doesn't get it or like it, you're shaping the future church whether you use it or not. There will always be someone who complains or doesn't like it, but if you don't continue pushing creativity forward, your church and life will stay the same.