It’s been a long year, and you are probably looking forward to some downtime in the summer months. If you are a ministry leader, your schedule of activities is likely slowing down or will be finished soon and then you can take some much needed time to rest. Before you start packing your suitcase for vacation, avoid these two mistakes – don’t forget to celebrate and reset.
I get it; there is something about surviving your weekly schedule and being able to move on to whatever is next. But if you are a leader who wants to see his ministry continue to be effective, you need to take these final steps in your season of ministry (and then go to the lake).
Celebrating what God has done over the past year is essential. Yes, there have been all kinds of challenges and frustrations. As I am writing this, most of you finally feel some sense of normal following COVID-19. You probably also have disappointments from plans that didn’t come together or men who didn’t show up.
Celebration roots you in the faithfulness of God and gives perspective when you feel tired or disappointed. Get together with some other leaders in your church (or your men’s ministry team) and tell stories of how you have seen God at work. Spend time praising God together and thanking him for what he has been doing. You may even hear some stories you have not heard yet, and your own heart will be encouraged. Consider some symbol or word that can summarize the past year and keep it somewhere you can regularly see as a physical reminder of God’s faithfulness.
Have you ever gone on vacation and then felt like you needed a vacation from your vacation? This is what often happens with men’s ministry leaders. We take our summer break with our families, and then it takes us a while to get our bearings. Before we know it, September is here, and the ministry is supposed to launch, but we aren’t ready for it, so we delay and start later.
I am a big fan of the Buffalo Bills football team. During the recent NFL draft, one of the players they chose talked to the General Manager the night he got drafted and said, “send me the playbook tonight, so I can start to get to work.” The offseason is not a time when nothing happens; it is when you plan and prepare for what is to come. The sooner you start, the more you will be ready.
Do yourself and your ministry a favour and put together a tentative plan for your next ministry year before you disappear on vacation. This will give you an advantage when you return. It is far easier to start moving in ministry when you have some ideas already down on paper. Having a good plan in place ahead of time will provide the foundation you need to hit the ground running in the next season of ministry.
One More Thing
Enjoy your rest. Every sacrifice you have made and every minute you have invested has not been a waste. Your influence is significant, but leadership is a marathon and not a sprint. So enjoy some time to rest and get ready for how God wants to use you to point men to Jesus in your next season.