It’s a new year which means a great opportunity for new beginnings, recommitment and renewal. One of those commitments should include growing as ministers. Here are five keys I’ve discovered to growing as a minister.
Put your family first – I’m just going to say it from the outset, unless you determine to put your family first it won’t happen… and you will suffer for it. Don’t give them what’s left over. Give them your best. Our jobs are demanding and include irregular hours as well as many hours. Keep track of those hours and make sure you’re not stealing time from your family in order to make time for your ministry.
Set goals – Goal setting is an important part of my growth – both personally and professionally. Goals provide intentionality, direction and measurable objectives to work toward. I set goals both personally and in my ministry. Furthermore, I’m held accountable to those goals by the ministry staff I work with. We, as a staff, set goals early in January. We review and adjust at least two times during the year. Finally, we review them in early December.
Commit to learning – Read books, attend seminars, webinars, listen to podcasts, call others you believe do ministry in your field well. Commit to learning more about your vocation. After over 12 years of ministry to students I still feel like a novice and am constantly reading, listening and talking with others.
Develop relationships – The Proverb is true – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Develop relationships. Find people with whom to connect and share your journey with. This can be challenging in our churches where we minister. It’s easy to get so caught up in relationships with those we mentor – adults and students alike – that we forget about our own relational needs. One of my most cherished relationships is with a mentor of mine who lives 7 hours away. He speaks into my life in ways no one else does.
Commit to personal growth – I use “personal” because I have found that I must think of myself holistically – both physically and spiritually. This sounds so obvious, but the more I talk with others in ministry the more convinced I’ve become we overlook our own personal growth. One of the best ways I’ve found to encourage personal growth is by developing a rule of life – a set of guidelines you intentionally set out to live by in order to become more like Christ. Like goals, these are written down in such a way that you can come back to them regularly reminding you of who you are and what you’ve determined about your priorities. Like goals, these can be adjusted. This is just another way of saying, work diligently on spiritual formation.
If I incorporate these five things now, when I evaluate and reflect at the end of the year I can clearly identify areas of growth in my ministry.
What would you add to this list or change?