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Are You Having Fun With Your Ministry?
As I removed lettuce from the urinal in the boys' bathroom, a thought crossed my mind: "This is not fun?" I can't imagine anyone disagreeing with me. The past week at camp had been arduous, leading me to ponder if I was reaching my limits. Fortunately, a brief vacation was on my horizon for the upcoming week. I knew I would be alright; I simply needed a break.
Sticking with ministry over an extended period brings about some strange occurrences. When I reminisce about the years gone by, I find myself laughing at incidents like the aforementioned one. However, I also contemplate the challenging moments when anxiety, frustration, and burnout had seized control.
If one isn't cautious, the joy in ministry can dissipate rapidly. When this transpires, it becomes crucial to initially recognize indicators such as:
- Becoming entangled in busyness
- Suffering from sleep deprivation and declining health
- Falling into unfavorable habits and sinful conduct
- Feeling frustration toward loved ones
Whenever a sense of unease arises, it's imperative to address it promptly. If necessary, seeking professional assistance is a step one should take without feeling isolated. Despite the hardships, I've come to realize that if I intend to pursue this path in the long run, infusing ministry with enjoyment is essential. Four key elements that have aided me in achieving this include:
ENJOYING THE PEOPLE ON YOUR TEAM
Collaboration is essential; going at it alone poses risks. When you manage a team, your duty extends beyond leadership to encompass their well-being. Effectively managing your team requires clear direction and purpose, while also cultivating a foundation of trust.
Experiencing joy with your team involves investing time in understanding their lives. This entails recognizing milestones, and birthdays and occasionally sharing a meal. If rapport with your volunteers is lacking, a sense of isolation will emerge.
Examine your schedule, ensuring you make time for bonding with your team. This involves planning social gatherings, spiritual interactions, or activities to enhance your skills. Familiarize yourself with your team, nurture genuine care, and uncover the gratification born from collaborating with those you genuinely appreciate.
KNOWING WHAT DRIVES YOU
What gets you up in the morning? Each of us possesses a personal vocation in which our call to holiness intersects with our state in life and career. When we identify that personal vocation, we experience God's joy because we're living the life He has designed for us. To uncover that personal vocation, we must grasp what propels us.
Since 2019, we have been assisting ministry leaders in discovering their personal vocation through the MCODE™ Assessment. We sit down with clients to aid them in discerning what motivates their involvement in a specific initiative, what sustains their drive, and why they persevere until the end. When individuals understand their motivations, they can make more informed decisions about time management and guiding others. As we make improved choices regarding the calling God has bestowed upon us, we discover that joy.
CELEBRATING THE BIG AND SMALL
The Church has encountered substantial opposition in recent years, ranging from parish consolidation to disaffiliation and scandal, making it challenging to bolster our endeavors. However, there is ample cause for celebration within your ministry and parish. Both significant achievements and small victories abound, warranting recognition by you and your team.
To discern these victories, you must begin by articulating what transformative experiences resemble within your ministry. These successes could encompass a teenager becoming engaged in ministry or a parent expressing positive feedback after an event. It's important to commemorate not only the milestones taking place within your ministry but also the personal moments unfolding for you and your team outside its scope (e.g., the birth of a child, completing a marathon, anniversaries).
One of the most memorable instances I've encountered was when my team celebrated my attainment of a graduate degree. The surprise was complete, and the realization that others acknowledged the value of my efforts was truly invigorating. Recognizing that there exist aspects worth celebrating will reintroduce a sense of enjoyment to your endeavors.
FINDING THE TIME TO GET AWAY
Ministry can knock the wind out of your sails. There will be moments when exhaustion takes hold, and the most beneficial action you can take is to disconnect for a while in order to recuperate. Seize the opportunity for leave time and ensure you utilize every vacation and day off to recharge.
One of the reasons our sense of joy diminishes is due to the continuous grind and being entrenched in the daily challenges. It's crucial to extend self-compassion to yourself so that you're equipped to offer the same to others. Leading with a heart brimming with fulfillment makes ministry significantly more enjoyable.
Finding delight in ministry shouldn't be confined solely to games in the youth ministry realm. Fun doesn't necessarily equate to triviality; it should be an integral aspect of your strategy. Thus, ensure you derive enjoyment from your team, delve into your personal vocation, celebrate the journey, and allocate time for rejuvenation. In doing so, not only will you uncover the joy that aligns with God's intentions, but you'll also become a more adept leader.
How do you have fun in your ministry?