Month: August 2023

How to Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month: When, Why and How

This October, we’ll celebrate pastors and church leaders worldwide during Pastor Appreciation Month. This observance began as a way to show gratitude to those who have given their time and talents to selflessly serve in the ministry.

While there are many ways to show appreciation for your pastor, we’ve gathered some ideas to make this year’s celebration extra special. Whether you’re wondering about the history of pastor appreciation month, looking for Bible verses to share, or searching for creative gift ideas, read on for inspiration!

When is Pastor Appreciation Month and Day in 2022?

The entire month of October is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. There’s also a day specially dedicated to honoring your pastors and clergy.

Pastor Appreciation Day falls on the second Sunday of October. In 2022, Pastor Appreciation Day day will be observed on October 9th.

Be sure to mark your calendar!

Our pastors are a source of strength, guidance, and support. They go above and beyond to care for our needs, both spiritual and emotional.

This month, and Pastor Appreciation Day in particular, provides an opportunity to let your pastor know how much you appreciate all they do for you and your community.

The History of Pastor or Clergy Appreciation Month

Pastor or Clergy Appreciation Month and Clergy Appreciation Day became an official observance in 1992. The organization Focus on the Family first initiated the drive to promote October as National Clergy Appreciation Month.

H.B. London was particularly instrumental in championing this initiative. He worked with Focus on the Family for about two decades and was passionate about building ministries and resources to serve pastors.

Hallmark started offering Clergy Appreciation cards in 2002. Along with other retailers, they continue to offer a variety of cards and gifts to help people express their gratitude during this month.

This month is an opportunity to honor all pastors, priests, reverends, ministers, and other clergy members.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated number of employed clergy in the U.S. is 50,790.

Brainstorm a list of people you know serving in ministry. Of course, there’s your local pastor. But maybe you also know a missionary or pastor sitting outside the spotlight. These individuals may not get a lot of attention, but deserve recognition. They are working hard and pouring out their lives for others.

5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month

In practice, we should always be showing love and expressing thanks for the important people in our life. But we all have busy lives, and it’s easy to forget.

Similar to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, the purpose of observances like Pastor Appreciation Day isn’t to honor special people in our lives ONLY at these specific times. Instead, it serves as a welcome reminder to take some extra steps and plan ahead to make it special.

Here are 5 reasons why you should celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month:

1. Your pastor works hard

Pastoring is not an easy job! Your pastor works long hours, often behind the scenes. Preparing a sermon requires lots of work, and that’s not all they do. They’re also responsible for leading, administration, and pastoral care responsibilities.

In addition, the schedule is relentless. Your pastor is responsible for services 52 weekends a year. And that’s not counting mid-week services, holidays, and other special events.

Also, a pastor is one of the first people called in times of emergency. And you can never predict when accidents, hospitalizations, or tragic events will occur, whether it’s the middle of the night or while your pastor is on vacation.

Although people like to joke that preachers only work one day a week, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

2. Your pastor deals with tough stuff

Pastors have to deal with difficult and often tragic situations. In any given week, they might hear about someone getting a terminal cancer diagnosis, a marriage on the brink of divorce because of adultery, or an untimely death.

Although pastors know that dealing with these issues is part of their job, it doesn’t make it easy. It’s not uncommon for this to become a challenge for their mental and emotional health over time.

And there are other issues that can cause stress. When you work with people, things inevitably get messy! Pastors must regularly deal with gossip, conflict, and difficult relational dynamics within the church.

It’s not always easy being the person everyone comes to with their problems and complaints. That’s what makes Pastor Appreciation Day so important.

And yet, they continue to show up week after week because they know that God has called them to ministry.

3. Your pastor needs encouragement

Pastors are often seen as being strong and capable of handling any situation that comes their way. But they’re only human.

They need support, words of affirmation, and encouragement just like everyone else. In fact, because of the unique challenges they face, pastors often need it more than most.

You can’t please everyone all the time. However, pastors are faced with serving a wide variety of personalities. All these people have different standards and opinions regarding preaching, leadership, and ministry care.

Faith leaders must also address complicated social, political, and cultural issues. And with today’s technology and social media, they are under the spotlight and scrutinized for everything they say and do.

It’s a ton of pressure.

Suffice it to say that your pastor desperately needs to hear “well done” and other words of encouragement. You can support them with prayers, notes, and more – especially during Pastor Appreciation Month.

4. Your pastor needs rest

Based on all we’ve mentioned above, your pastor needs regular time off to rest and recharge. Unfortunately, most pastors don’t get enough vacation time, and Sunday is always coming!

Most pastors feel like they’re always on call. They might feel guilty taking a day off, even when desperately needing it.

But the truth is, your pastor needs regular time away from work to prevent burnout. They need time to relax, enjoy hobbies and interests outside of the church, and connect with family and friends.

Pastor Appreciation Month is the perfect time to rally around your pastor and their family to give them a much-needed break. You can provide meals, do chores or errands, or provide them with a vacation or getaway.

By helping your pastor rest, you’re also helping to prevent burnout. And that’s something we can all get behind.

5. Your pastor deserves honor

We’re not trying to guilt you into celebrating Pastor Appreciation Day…but the Bible is very clear about honoring our leaders.

And that includes our pastors!

When we take the time to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month, we are acknowledging them for their service. We are saying “thank you” for all they do to shepherd us and lead us closer to Jesus.

It’s a way of showing our appreciation for their dedication, hard work, and sacrificial love.

To add to this point, here are some Bible verses that speak to both those who honor and what the Bible says to encourage.

Bible Verses for Pastor Appreciation Month

What does the Bible say about honoring our pastors and leaders? It’s clear that we’re meant to show them honor, respect, and love.

Now we’re not talking about putting up with abuse, corruption, or dictatorships. While no pastor is perfect, the vast majority have the best of intentions and love people. So, there are many verses that encourage us to respect, submit to, and follow our spiritual leaders.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
  • “The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and the worker is worthy of his wage” – 1 Timothy 5:17-18
  • “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Hebrews 13:17

10 Verses to Encourage Your Pastor During Pastor Appreciation Month

As you pray for your pastor and write notes of encouragement, consider using these scriptures and others.

  1. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
  2. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
  3. “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” – 1 Chronicles 16:11
  4. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
  5. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who brings good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” – Isaiah 52:7
  6. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
  7. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:29-30
  8. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
  9. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
  10. “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” – 1 Thessalonians 1:2

10 Ideas to Celebrate Your Pastor on Pastor Appreciation Day

Every pastor is different, so consider their particular likes, hobbies, and personality type when deciding what to do for them.

Here are a few ideas for Pastor Appreciation Month to help you start brainstorming how to show some love.

  1. Plan a special service or event in their honor
  2. Give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store
  3. Present them with a plaque, certificate, or another award
  4. Take them out for lunch or coffee
  5. Write a letter of appreciation and have others sign it
  6. Give them tickets to a play, concert, or another event
  7. Buy them a book or resource that they’ve been wanting
  8. Have the children in your church make cards or gifts for them
  9. Offer to provide housecleaning or yard service for their family
  10. Give them a certificate for a vacation or getaway

Conclusion

Pastor Appreciation Month is a great time to show your pastor how much you care. By expressing your gratitude and appreciation, you can let them know that their hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.

This is also an opportunity to encourage them in their faith and let them know that they are making a difference in your life and the lives of others. Use this month as a way to build up your pastor and show them the impact that they have made in your life.

Written by THOMAS COSTELLO

Article taken from here.

How Do You Talk About Pastor Appreciation Month?

I’m uncomfortable, you’re uncomfortable, everyone’s uncomfortable.

October is almost here, and if you’re a pastor, you know what that means – it’s pastor appreciation month. Which, if we’re being honest, feels delicate.

When I served as a pastor, I was always the first to say that I didn’t need any special recognition. And while I didn’t NEED the extra recognition, I think it’s fair to say that I secretly hoped for a nice note or a gift card or some little extra bit of validation.

Can you relate to this? I bet you or someone on your pastoral team can.

In a lot of churches, the pastors and staff are the primary, if not only communicators, which makes the whole “let’s take a month to appreciate our pastors” language feel a bit self-serving.

I think one of the big reasons for the discomfort around this particular topic is that as pastors and staff, we’re typically used to championing and driving forward a lot of the communication and challenges for our congregations. Normally, when we’re asking for things from the congregation, we’re not really asking for things for ourselves. We’re asking for people to give or volunteer with the intent of impacting our communities for the kingdom of God.

While keeping pastors healthy and avoiding burnout is an incredibly important part of doing ministry together, we intuitively know that we can’t be the only ones who champion ourselves, we need to be championed by others. So how do we do this?

Let non-staff members take the stage

This is the low hanging fruit. You probably already do this do a degree. Whether its an elder, board member, or some other layperson in a leadership role, communication about showing extra love and appreciation to the pastors and staff is best when it comes from someone who isn’t going to directly benefit from it.

Realistically this is already happening in many, if not most churches, so I don’t need to spend a lot of time on this, but if you’re in a position where this isn’t on your leadership team’s radar, its completely reasonable – maybe even important – to raise the issue with them.

If you’re a church planter or the only pastor of a small church, don’t make the mistake that this is only about you. Regardless of how you feel personally about the extra recognition for a few weeks each year, you can begin to lay the groundwork of a culture of appreciation and care that will impact future pastors and staff, and the longevity and health of their ministries.

Create a culture, not an event.

Pastor appreciation month or week or day? Regardless of how your church approaches it, we can all pretty much point to a single timeframe each year in which we talk about it. I think this is great. So many groups of people are intentionally recognized throughout the year, and having a regular, predictable time to talk about it is good to help us remember. Notes, gift cards, and other physical blessings are amazing and often are just the thing someone needs, but more important is creating a culture of care for you and your team all year round.

If you work on a staff with multiple pastors, be sure to champion your co-workers with the volunteers in their department. If you know that one of your co-workers is feeling stretched thin or is going through a rough time, let the church members that work with them know that they need some extra care and love. (In all things, make sure anything you’re sharing is appropriate and safe to share). If you know a pastor has a birthday coming up, check in with some of the team members in their ministry to see if they plan to acknowledge them.

It’s far too easy for pastors to feel like commodities in their work. Sundays just keep coming every week, and between preparing for services and helping church members navigate a variety of heavy life circumstances as they grow deeper in their faith and discipleship. It’s easy for a pastor to feel like there’s no time to stop and care for themselves.

The church was never intended to be an organization run by a few individuals for the benefit of the masses. Regular and intentional care is important for all believers to give and receive, pastors included.

So yes, celebrate pastor appreciation month. If you’re a pastor and this doesn’t happen at your church, don’t be afraid to ask your elder board to help get the ball rolling. As you celebrate next month, use this as time to help lead your church deeper into authentic community, giving care to those around you, and asking for care when you need it.

Happy Pastor Appreciation Month!

Written by Josh Tarp

Article taken from here.

Josh Tarp is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and worship leader from Minneapolis with over 15 years of experience in church & worship leadership. Josh serves as the Director of Marketing at Motion Worship, helping to write various blog posts, managing social media, designing graphics, and handling customer service.

3 WAYS TO HELP FAMILIES WIN ON SUNDAY

Sundays not only matter greatly to you, but they matter greatly to the families that you serve each week. Whether parents are bringing their young children back to your preschool environment or dropping their high school student off for small group – here are 3 effective ways to help families win on Sunday.

  • Be Present

Presence is simply the act of making yourself available. Whenever a family arrives to a family ministry environment there should always be someone available and ready for them. Consistently equip your team members with a clear vision for being present for every child, student, and parent on Sunday.

When a little one is being dropped off… they want to know they are safe.

When an elementary-aged child joins a group… they want to know they matter.

When a teenager shows up… they want to know someone will show up for them and they won’t feel alone.

When families show up on Sunday… Who and what will they see? 

Will they see someone ready, welcoming, and smiling?

When I train family ministry leaders, we take time to practice smiling. And I tell them to expect their cheeks to hurt a bit on Sundays. Why? Because we are committed to helping families win on Sundays with intentional presence, a warm welcome, and a big smile.

  • Make It Fun

If you want to help families win on Sundays, then make sure you equip leaders help make Sunday fun for the kids and students who show up. 

Why does this matter? Because our missiology matters.

If we were serving in another country or culture, then as a well-equipped missionary we would know what matters to the people we are serving and practically meet them there. That is how we communicate tangible care and love: by understanding and responding to what matters to the people we are serving… And fun matters to kids and students.

We communicate to the next generation that we genuinely care about meeting them where they are when we put in the effort to provide them with purposeful, age-appropriate fun. Your family ministries ought to be using a biblically sound, scripture- based curriculum. Help kids and students to love learning the scriptures and point them to the Author of joy… by making it joyful!

Not only does “making it fun” help kids and students win, but it helps the whole family win because next Sunday parents and kids will be much less likely to have conflict about heading to the church together. Instead, kids will be asking, “Is it time to go to church yet?!”

  • Give a Good Word

Proverbs 12:25 tells us that “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”

As I often say to other parents, “This whole parenting thing is not for the faint of heart.” Family ministry leaders have the unique opportunity to bring gladness by intentionally giving a good word to parents on Sundays.

Make it a point to equip leaders to go out of their way to encourage parents with a “good word” that is specific to their child. Here are a few examples:

  • “It was a joy to have Xavier in small group today. He gets along so well with the other boys!”
  • “Maya went out of her way to help me today. You are doing a great job teaching her to be a helpful servant.”
  • “Micah was asking great questions in class today. It’s evident to me that He is growing in his faith.”
  • “Veda goes out of her way to include girls who our new to our student ministry. It’s evident to see that God has given her a kind heart towards others.”

In summary:

  1. Be present for every family.
  2. Make it fun for every kid.
  3. And bring a good word to every parent.

Every Sunday is an opportunity to help families win!

Written by Chris Warszawski

Serving the local church for over 15 years, Chris Warszawski currently serves as a City Missionary for SEND Network. His passion is to help churches, church planters, and ministry leaders take their next, best step. He is the author of “Primed to Lead: An Honest Conversation for New & Experience Leaders.”

Starting Your Ministry Year Off Right

As summer ends, it’s time to think about starting a brand new ministry year! Here are some essential ways to prepare for the year to start you off right.

At Orange, we have a core belief. The scope of your influence is determined by the success of your volunteers. If you agree, the most important thing you can do as you prepare for the Fall is to empower your team so they can lead. While this requires a lot of intentional planning, it’s not impossible with the right team and mindset! The last thing you want is to limit both your influence and the ministry-at-large, so here are five words to consider that will start your new ministry year and your volunteers off on the right foot.

Plan 

Your ministry most likely has some core values already established – like serving the community, making disciples, or deepening community. Consider using these as a framework to set some team goals and clarify your win for the new calendar year. What were some wins and learnings from the past year? Where are you going? What will you do this year to put feet to each value? How will you know if you’ve accomplished a goal?

You might also plan out how you will equip, empower and encourage your team throughout the year. Will it be through monthly volunteer huddles, seasonal virtual book studies, or weekly thank-you cards? We think all of the above are great places to start. If you subscribe to Orange Curriculum, we have developed our first monthly volunteer training resource that will give you a focused topic each month and the resources you need to ignite confidence and purpose in the hearts of your volunteers all year long.

Recruit 

In our current reality, it’s not uncommon to start off the new ministry year with holes on our teams. Families are often not fully recovered from vacation, the back-to-school frenzy has begun, and many are not thinking about how else they might fill their time.

Collaborate with your staff to plan one or two Recruitment Sundays early in the Fall to make people aware of where there are still opportunities to serve. Create a large, colorful display of open positions with copies of detailed job descriptions and contact information. Invite your current team of volunteers into the recruitment process with you so they can experience the joy of seeing new volunteers find their place and purpose.

Launch

The beginning of any new ministry season is always exciting. There are new team members, kids and students are oftentimes in new classrooms or environments, and the energy is generally high. Leverage the momentum of the season by planning a celebratory volunteer kick-off event to cast a compelling vision and launch your team well. This is your chance to help your teams see the big picture goals for your ministry, equip them to feel empowered in their role from day one, and delegate responsibilities to your key leaders.

Attendance will be crucial so consider offering this both in-person and virtually. Record it and post it as its own event on social media so that you can capture as many people as possible. Brainstorm ways to get this information to the entire team in order to reduce the amount of “sideways energy” spent in the coming weeks training the folks who missed out.

Evaluate

It’s one thing to develop a well thought-out plan and quite another to know whether it was effective. Building a strategic evaluation and follow-up process in your ministry can be an absolute game-changer.  When you give your volunteers clear directives, occasions to rise to, and a plan of action, it helps them lead with intentionality and thoughtfulness. And gives them the potential to grow and develop into better leaders.

Encourage each volunteer to come up with 2-3 goals of their own that they would like to see accomplished before the end of this ministry season. Help them determine how they will evaluate their effectiveness and set a date together to follow-up on how they’re coming along. Be sure to share your own ministry goals to make them aware that this is a team effort. We’re all on a mission to grow and become better leaders for the sake of those we lead.

Post

In today’s tech world, it’s not enough to train our volunteers weekly, seasonally, and annually – we have to ask what it looks like to train them digitally. One of the most underutilized resources for training and inspiring our volunteers is social media. We have the opportunity to show up and drip-feed vision directly onto a device that every volunteer is going to engage with every day!

With limited time, the best plan of action is to schedule your social media in advance each month. While there are now countless publishing tools available online, perhaps the easiest option is to use Facebook’s Meta Business Suite. This free tool has the ability to schedule and publish directly to both a Facebook group and an Instagram account you have set up just for those who serve in your ministry. You might also consider how you can utilize an app like Zoom to host prayer gatherings, book studies, or simply play games through an app like Houseparty to build trust and community among your team.

Written by Daniel De Jesus

Article taken from here.

Why You Shouldn’t Quit Ministry Right Now, Even Though You Feel Like It

You’ve probably thought about quitting recently.

The data David Kinnaman, President of Barna Group shares weekly on our joint podcast, Church Pulse Weekly, shows that pastors are more discouraged than ever,  are worried about much lower effectiveness in their ministry post-COVID, and that 20% of churches might not even survive.

No wonder you’ve thought about quitting.

Speaking personally, I find that even scrolling through my social media and news feed most days discourages me.

I’m not telling you can’t quit. Of course you can. You can do whatever you’d like.

But I would like to try to persuade you why, for most leaders, this is probably the wrong time to leave. To at least reconsider.

And I’d love to give you a few strategies to help you move through these days with more composure, grace and, well, sanity.

I get it. It’s hard. Really hard.

Here’s why it’s worth hanging in if you can.

1. Quitting on a Bad Day is a Really Bad Idea

I’ve wanted to quit more than a few times, and almost always that’s because I’m having a bad day.

Here’s what I’ve realized: quitting on a bad day is a really bad idea.

On a bad day, your emotions hijack your brain. You can’t think straight, and you almost always end up doing things you regret.

Quitting is pretty permanent.

And if quitting on a bad day is a bad idea, The last few years have been a string of bad days, weeks, and months. The pressure is cumulative. And it’s probably wisest to resist.

Does this mean you can never quit?

Of course not. If it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I’m actually stepping down from our church staff at the end of 2020, but that was planned for years as part of a carefully developed succession plan.

If you’re going to quit, quit on a good day. After careful prayer, adequate rest, wise counsel, and a clear sense this is the best step into the future.

If you’re having a bad day (or a bad year), hang in there. You’ll probably be glad you did.

If you need some further incentive, here’s a pattern I’ve noticed in my life: you’re most tempted to quit moments before a critical breakthrough.

I can’t tell you the number of times I almost gave up, didn’t, and saw a breakthrough right around the corner.

So hang in there.

2. You’re Probably Just About To Innovate

You know the saying: necessity is the mother invention.

So, yep, things are really tough. Which also means you’re probably about to start innovating.

Most of the change that’s happened since March 2020 hasn’t been innovation, it’s been adaptation. You had no choice, so you really didn’t pivot, you adapted. We all did.

The adaptation is wearing thin. It’s not working as well as it did a few months ago.

And the return ‘back to church’ has been, for the most part, a shadow of what existed pre-COVID. Many leaders stepped back into the past when they stepped back into their buildings, and now they’re now frustrated with the lack of progress they see.

Which is driving you to despair. But sitting on the other side of despair is something much more promising: innovation.

Let your desperation drive you to innovation. That’s where all the promise is.

3. The World Has Never Needed the Church More

Saying that these have been hard times for most churches and leaders is absolutely true.

Most churches are seeing significant declines in in-person and even online attendance. I get it. That’s really discouraging.

But the mission of the church has never been more important.

In a divided, tribalized, angry, isolated and fragile culture, the mission of the church has never been more important.

While some church leaders are mimicking the attitude of the culture, supporting partisan candidates and fueling anger online, the future belongs to pastors who don’t.

What the culture needs is an alternative to itself, and the church is just that.

This is a great time to remind yourself that when you’re surrounded by division, the church brings unity.

When you see isolation, the church fuels community.

It’s a good time to affirm once again the answer to hate isn’t more hate, it’s the radically countercultural practice of enemy-love Jesus embodied.

The world does not need the church to mimic it right now, it needs the church to provide an alternative.

Perhaps you were called into leadership for such a time as this.

4. The Challenge of 2020-2021 Places You Squarely in the Tradition of Biblical Leadership

I don’t know about you, but the biblical stories I’ve read all my life are leaping off the page in fresh ways this year.

As much as you might hate 2020 and 2021, it places you squarely in the tradition of most Biblical leadership. Leaders in scripture almost always led through crisis.

If you think being Moses was easy, hang out in Exodus or Deuteronomy for a little longer. It was brutal.

People criticize the scripture regularly for being too violent (that often confuses descriptive passages with prescriptive passages). Conflict, war, oppression, invasions, and corrupt political systems characterize biblical times.

But personally, I’m glad the scriptures don’t describe some idyllic life where everyone walks in the woods in perfect harmony with each other, because that’s not the world we live in. Come on, that’s not even your family. You can’t go for a walk without someone arguing about something.

No, the dysfunction we see in biblical characters reflects the dysfunction we see in ourselves.

And strangely, through it all, we see God’s hand still at work. That Christ’s redeeming work is still progressing.

The church in Corinth was a mess. And God used it.

None of this justifies the dysfunction, but it lets us know that God works in it and in spite of it.

Which means there’s hope for you and me.

Which means when you lead through the mess that is today,  you are squarely in the tradition of Biblical leadership, tracing out hope where nobody can find any.

Three Ways To Stay Encouraged In Leadership

So, that’s a little motivation as why you shouldn’t quit.

But how do you find the fuel and motivation to stay in there?

Here are three things that have helped me and I hope will help you.

1. Don’t Look To Time Off To Heal You—Pay Attention To Your Time On

I know a lot of leaders who are holding out for some time off. And time off is wonderful.

But it’s not going to get you through the crisis. You just can’t take enough vacation or days off to get you through a prolonged crisis.

When the way you’re living and leading is broken, all the time in the world off won’t fix it.

The problem with most leaders is not how we spend our time off. It’s how we spend our time on.

So, focus on creating a sustainable rhythm for every day.  The mantra I’ve lived by for the last decade plus is, live in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow.  It helps me figure out everything from how much sleep I need, how many meetings to take, how many decisions I can reasonably make, and how to replenish myself daily so I can lead at home and at work.

Your time off can’t save you if the problem is how you spend your time on.

This might take constant adjustment on your part, but it’s worth it.

2. Create An Encouragement File

For years I’ve kept a file I simply call “encouragement”.

It’s a simple Gmail folder.

The rule is simple. When someone sends me something that encourages me (an email, a blog comment, a DM, a card, a note), I put it in that file.   Often it’s a thank you for something I said or did, a short message of encouragement, and sometimes it’s a life-changing story (love those!).

Here’s why I keep it (hang on, my reasoning is complicated): I get discouraged.

The news bothers me. My social media feed can be depressing. Results can be disappointing. And critics can get under my skin.

Sometimes it doesn’t even take a comment from anyone.  I can discourage myself in no time flat.

You probably get a lot of encouragement, but you just forget. Plus it takes about 1000 positive comments to compensate for the one devastating critique someone emailed you.

When you get discouraged, read what you’ve saved in your encouragement file.

God is using you more than you think, and people appreciate you more than you realize.

3. Don’t Do This Alone: It Can Kill You

Leadership was already lonely enough before the crisis hit. Now it’s even lonelier.

If you want to stay motivated and strong in leadership, you can’t do it alone.

Think loneliness isn’t a big deal?

Think again. Apparently it can kill you.

Loneliness can be more deadly to your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to a friend. I’ve reached out to a handful of friends in the pandemic. One friend and I text every day, just to stay in touch and encourage each other.

And when you can grab lunch and meet face to face, do it.

Solitude is a gift from God. Isolation is a tool of the enemy.

Leaders, you’re only as lonely as you choose to be.

Written by Carey Nieuwhof

Article taken from here.