Major League Baseball’s opening day is two weeks from today. I can hardly wait! As spring training continues, we hear about hitters going through periods with little success referred to as a “slump”. Hitters often talk about watching film to discover what needs to be tweaked in their hitting approach helping them get out of their “slump”.
In ministry, it’s easy to get into a slump. Sometimes you just don’t feel the energy, excitement toward ministry. However, unlike a major-league hitter, there’s no film to watch revealing what needs to be tweaked.
You know you’re in a slump when you begin to ask: “Why am I being short with people?”, “Why are people feeling like an interruption?”, “Why is our staff no longer innovating?”, “Why am I feeling so sluggish lately?”, etc.
Since our craft involves the entire person (heart, soul, mind, and body) slumps always loom dangerously close. So how can you avoid the dreaded ministry slump?
While in seminary I had a professor that shared 4 “buckets” a leader must balance based on Mark 12:30. “Having 3 buckets full and 1 bucket empty is a formula for disaster,” he said. Keeping these 4 buckets full will prevent a slump.
1) Your Heart – Are you protecting your heart? Is there anything/anyone hurting your heart? What are you doing to protect your heart? Weekly expressions of gratitude, removing the influence of unhealthy people, and maintaining margin in my schedule help me.
2) Your Soul – Who are you trying to please? Investing in yourself isn’t selfishness but good stewardship. How will you feed you soul? Reading books, long walks, traveling, family time, and meaningful conversations help me. Here are some replenishing books: Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Seeking the Face of God, Leading on Empty, In the Name of Jesus, Let Your Light Speak, The Rest of God.
3) Your Mind – Are you still curious? What books are you reading? Are there people in your life that stimulate your intellect? Are you sharing what you’re learning? I enjoy following leaders on twitter/blogs, participating in industry coaching sessions, and reading books from different disciplines.
4) Your Body – Diet and exercise. This is my current weakness. My mind is willing but my discipline is weak. My wife, who ran a 5K Run in Malibu a couple of weeks ago, is so consistent. I’m proud of her and inspired by her. So I’m preparing for a 5K run in Santa Barbara in April. This is currently my “low” bucket so I’m determined to focus on filling it again.
For me, balance will never happen easily. I naturally gravitate toward imbalance. Imbalance causes me to enter a ministry slump.