Archive for November, 2009

If you’re going to survive ministry, you better know how to respond to your valleys

Summer was AMAZING! My time with Jesus was extraordinary. But, then it came…the end of August. August is the beginning of a 10 week push, that is long…and hard…and wonderful…and long…and hard…and wonderful…and hard! It’s a ramp up time for Master’s Commission Atlanta (80 students) and Cadre (135 youth pastors), both at the same time, all while doing everything else we do. For me, that means directing the website, Source, Youth Leader’s Coach, middle school ministry, accounting department, 3rd year MC ministry enrichment and children’s ministry. I literally have a piece of paper posted to my computer of my job responsibilities, along with 10 questions I frequently look at to see what needs my attention.

1. What meetings need to take place?
2. Who can be entrusted with a hand off?
3. What do I need to do so those around me can do what they need to do?
4. What needs inspected/reviewed/reminded about?
5. What deadlines are fast approaching that are likely to bite me?
6. Who can I encourage and/or coach a little today?
7. Are there any systems that can be established to make this whole thing run smoother?
8. What must I do that no one else can?
9. Have I ripped off Jesus today?
10. What am I willing to fail at (or as I say to my 3rd years, take the “F” in)?

What made these 10 weeks harder than normal were the Atlanta flooding (which totally jacked up the MC schedule, including my 3 assistants) and the fact that we have nearly 25 additional youth pastors in the Cadre (which means more paperwork, more emails, more payments, more emails, more questions, more emails…). Because I’ve got great people around me, it’s do-able as long as the end is in sight. For me, I know the end is November 5. During those 10 weeks, sleep is elusive, work is abundant and deadlines are plentiful. People ask me how I do it and it’s simple. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do (even throughout the 10 weeks) and I know, know, know that November 5 is coming.

But when November 5th hit, I was spent…completely gone. For the first time in my life, I even think I fell asleep at the wheel (that will never happen again), fortunately as quick as I went to sleep, I woke up. I was ready to quit and go flip burgers for a living. Was I serious? Dead serious, more than you could ever know. BUT then I slept and slept some more, played tennis and played some more, talked to Jesus and talked some more, talked to a friend and talked some more, got caught up on some work and caught up some more. I heard myself say to Jeanne some amazing words of wisdom, you know the kind afterwards that you think “those weren’t mine.” I said, “I just have to realize the end of the 10 week push marks the beginning of a tough month. November is ‘head game’ month ever since my dad died. Each year is better than the last, but still not great.” I needed to say that out loud.

All that to say, if you haven’t figured it out yet, “know your peaks and valleys” and “verbalizing the tough stuff (to the right people) disarms it.” Today was a great day, 12 hours of sleep, 2 hours of tennis in the warm sunshine, lunch with some friends, now a little worky work…