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It’s Summertime and the Livin’ Ain’t Easy

I love summer, the opportunity it brings for golf, beach trips, and late sunsets. Recently I enjoyed an evening outside watching grandsons toss a frisbee as adults shared small talk on a cool Michigan night. Soon to follow was the obligatory trip to Dairy Queen just prior to nightfall which is around 9:30 p.m. As relaxing as all this sounds, my coaching clients paint a much different picture.

I have the privilege of coaching leaders across the church staff spectrum. Here’s a few examples they are presently contemplating:

Lead Pastor:  pondering the best methods to create the desire in his congregants to think more externally than internally, and what dynamic series will he be presenting in the early fall.

Worship Arts Director:  working hard to minimize the fast running service clock to be able to add creative elements to the weekend experience.

Student Ministries Pastor:  focused on a full bucket of summer events but hoping to re-launch fall ministry with new exciting initiatives.

Children’s Pastor:  in the middle of a major renovation of his space and starting a new midweek program while recruiting volunteers for the fall team.

Veteran Missionaries:  prepping to connect with new missionaries to provide care, resources and strategic help.

The irony for ministry leaders in the summer is that seemingly the rest of the universe is focused on down time while it often feels like an over-the-top busy time. If you’re reading this and you are saying “it seems like the days are longer, so I have more time to get stuff done,” you might be heading in the wrong direction.

The church ministry year has many seasons where leaders can feel overwhelmed, i.e. fall launch, Christmas, Easter, summer events. What is the best way to deal? A one shot 10-14-day getaway once a year won’t cut it. I have been processing with my clients the advantages of strategic energy management. We are using 6-month ministry maps to identify the best productive practices. Planning in advance to allow for ministry and life balance through scheduled margin is crucial. If you’re a ministry leader, balance is crucial to your personal health, your family’s well-being, and the church at large to benefit from the best of your passion and gifts. In part, it’s scheduling your daily life with parameters and in part, it’s derived from scheduling margin and renewal space. It means planning for it, commiting to make it happen, and doing it without guilt. And it may mean an accountability partner or a ministry coach to keep you on target.  So before the next big thing on your calendar hits, enjoy the remaining summer and put a plan in place for the future!




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