Twenty Ways to Stay Positive in Ministry

Part Two

I shared ten ways to stay positive in ministry in my last post, and I want to share ten more in today’s post. Ministry is full of difficult seasons, and without some ways to stay positive you’re probably not going to last long. So, if you’re feeling down, hopefully these ideas will help.

  1. Watch a movie. I ended my last post by suggesting you read a book, but reading may not be enjoyable to you. Instead, watch a movie. Comedies are the best for relieving stress, but a love story might be best to watch with your spouse.
  2. Serve someone outside of the church. It’s easy to forget why we got into ministry. Remind yourself by serving someone. Buy someone’s lunch, cut your neighbors grass, or if you’re feeling especially brave, offer to babysit someone’s kids.
  3. Tell your spouse why you’re discouraged. At times I think it’s dangerous to tell your spouse too much about what’s going on with the church, but at other times I think it’s just as dangerous to keep it to yourself. If something is bothering you and your spouse can tell, let them know what is so they can help you through it.
  4. Pick up a hobby. It’s never too late in life to pick up the game of golf, bowling, or lots of other hobbies. Find something you enjoy that can take your mind off ministry at least for a few hours.
  5. Get a small win. Finish your sermon a day early, so you can take your spouse on a date the next day. Check something off your to do list. Pray for three people in your church. Find a few small things you can accomplish and celebrate.
  6. Listen to music. Dust off an old record, cassette, or CD and listen to some of your favorites. Just be warned, if you grew up in the 90’s like I did, you may want to stay away from the grunge genre.
  7. Spend some time alone. I’m an introvert, which means that people often drain me. If you’re like me, don’t be afraid to spend some time alone to allow yourself time to recharge.
  8. Watch a sermon online. Technology has given us access to some of the greatest preachers of our time. Spend an hour watching a sermon from one of your favorites. Who knows, maybe the message will speak to you.
  9. Pray. The most obvious idea on this list, yet one that I easily forget when I’m feeling depressed. Don’t shy away from God during these seasons, lean in.
  10. Get professional help. If you’ve tried these ideas and you still can’t seem to shake these feelings of discouragement, sit down with a counselor. There’s nothing shameful about needing help. We’ve all been there before. Do whatever it takes to get yourself healthy.

I hope these ideas help, and don’t forget to go back and read my last post to find out ten more ideas to stay positive. If you ever need someone to vent to and share your frustrations, shoot me an email and I’d love to talk. We’re in this together, and I want us all to be in it for a very long time.

Twenty Ways to Stay Positive in Ministry

Part One

In ministry you will have hard days, weeks, months, and even years. There will be times you will want to quit. Times when you feel like you’re not making a difference. Times of frustration, pain, and sadness. It’s inevitable. So, you better discover some ways to stay positive and get through those hard times. In this post I share ten ways you can stay positive, and in my next post, I’ll share ten more. I hope these ideas will get you through because we need you in the fight.

  1. Remember what God has done. I tell church leaders regularly not to hold on to the past, but remembering the past can be helpful during hard times. On days when you think you’re not making a difference, think back on the victories God has already given you.
  2. Get away from negativity. That means normally getting outside of the church, away from social media, and sometimes not answering the phone. Don’t give time to those who are going to drain you, at least not until you’re healthy again.
  3. Do spend time with those who encourage you. When I get down it’s natural for me to isolate myself. This isn’t healthy. Instead, make an appointment with someone who always encourages you. This could be your spouse, a friend, or another pastor.
  1. Read old thank you cards. I have three or four thank you cards sitting around my office at all times. I’ve also started keeping a folder of cards and notes that have been given to me throughout the years. When times get hard, it helps to pick a few up and read them.
  1. Lower your expectations. Goals and expectations are great until they become a source of discouragement. A wise pastor once told me, “If you’re having trouble meeting expectations, lower them.” Stop beating yourself up for not meeting your goals. It’s not helpful.
  2. Clean your office. I need to make a confession. My office is currently a mess. It needs to be cleaned and organized because when it isn’t it causes stress. Cleaning your office will make you feel better, and it’s one thing you can control when the rest of your life seems to be going out of control.
  1. Start a new project. There’s always something exciting about starting something new. This could be a new sermon series, a new small group idea, or even a new diet. Just make sure you’re getting your other work done as well.
  1. Go do something active. Don’t sit around and be miserable. Go for a walk in the park, jump on a bike, or hit the gym. There’s something about getting moving that eases stress and worry.
  1. Take a nap. Do you ever wake up in a bad mood? This happens to me sometimes, normally after a church event that didn’t go quite as planned. Instead of dwelling on it all day, give yourself permission to take a nap. Hopefully, you’ll wake up refreshed and in a better mood.
  1. Read a book. The Bible is great to read, but in certain seasons it may not be the best medicine. Perhaps try something different, like a biography of someone you admire or a work of fiction that will get your mind off of ministry.

I hope some of these ideas will help, and don’t forget we have ten more ideas coming at you in my next post. Make sure you don’t miss it by subscribing to the blog, and share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Should You Cancel Christmas Eve Services?

If you look at current church trends, you’ll notice that Christmas has almost caught up with Easter as the best time to reach new people in your community. While that hasn’t been the case at my church, that’s what the statistics are showing, which means there’s added pressure on church leaders to make the most of Christmas. I’ve felt it, and I’m sure many of you have as well. But, what if this year we took a different approach to Christmas?

Now, before I get labeled a Grinch or a Scrooge, let me just say that I love the Christmas season just as much as any other average American. And I love reaching people with the love of Jesus even more than that.

But is adding another service or doing a service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day really the best decision for most of us? Is it really worth what you’re asking people to give up?

Many times we’re asking our volunteers to skip out on their own family gatherings so they can serve at these services. We’re asking them to take one of the few days off they get for the holiday and spend it at church.

For what? Because we believe unchurched families are more likely to show up on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day than they are on December 22nd or 23rd.

Let’s say that’s true. Is that worth taking you and your volunteers away from family traditions? I’m not sure it is, but maybe.

I tell you what, if you’re still on the fence, go back a couple years and pull the names of every Christmas Eve or Christmas Day visitor you had. Then check to see if they’re still coming to your church.

If it’s working, keep doing it, but if not maybe it’s time you give yourself and your volunteers a break this Christmas. Your families will appreciate it.

Does your church do Christmas Eve or Day services? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let us know. I’d love to hear your opinions. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.