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.

Every Church Welcome Needs these Five Elements

Hi, welcome to the blog. My, that’s some weather we’ve been having, isn’t it? This is unfortunately how many churches welcome people to church. It doesn’t connect with people. It doesn’t communicate value, and it’s not even that welcoming. We have to do better than that.

Now, for those not quite familiar with the terminology, the church welcome is the critical time that someone from church welcomes people, mainly the guests, to the service.

I like to place the welcome right after the first worship song. This gives time for the people who’ve been hanging out in the lobby and the guests who are arriving a little late to find a seat.

I believe there are five elements to a great welcome, but maybe more important than those five is the person who is delivering the welcome. You have to make sure that person is a good speaker, they’re comfortable on stage, and they’re likable.

I’d prefer it not be the lead pastor because they’re the most likely to get caught in a conversation before service, or they may still need time to look over their notes. Plus, it’s just nice to have another person on stage people can connect with.

Once you’ve found that person, you need to ask them to do these five things during the welcome.

  1. Introduce yourself. Each and every week, you need to introduce yourself. Because each and every week we’re expecting guests to show up, and they may not know you.
  2. Welcome guests. You want to recognize guests every week. Not by making them stand up or raise their hand, just by saying, “If you’re new here, welcome. We’re glad you came.” Then if you use a connection card, you want to ask them to fill out the card and turn it in at the end of service.
  3. Share Vision. This is where you remind everyone of why your church exists. Try to share a story about how the church is changing lives.
  4. Invite them to connect. This could be to an event you have coming up, to a small group, or to a serving role. Statistics are very clear. If you don’t get people engaged in what you’re doing, then more than likely they won’t stay at your church.
  5. Pray. End the welcome by praying over the rest of the service.

It’s a simple as that. Here’s what mine would look like.

Hey, welcome to Strong Tower Church. My name is Travis. I’m one of the pastors here, and from everyone on staff and all our wonderful volunteers, we want to say we’re honored that you’re here today. If this is your first time with us, we hope we make you feel at home. When you came in, you were handed a connection card, and we’d love for you to fill that out with as much information as you’re comfortable with sharing. We promise we’re not going to show up at your house or anything like that. We would just like to send you a thank you card, and we have a free gift for you if you’ll take your card to our welcome center after service. This week I came across this post on Facebook from someone who recently started attending our church, and I wanted to share it with you. It says, ‘I think I’ve finally found a home church. From the moment I stepped onto the property, I’ve never felt so welcomed. It truly does feel like family. I can’t wait to go back on Sunday.’ Posts like this are why we exist. Our church exists to share the love of Jesus with everyone, so that everyone falls in love with Him. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, we’re having a pastor’s lunch right after service today, and we would love to talk with you about how you can get more involved. Thanks again for being here. Would you join me in praying over the rest of our service?

If you found this post helpful, would you do me a favor and share it with another pastor or church leader you know? My desire is to help small town pastors all around the world, and I’d love to have your help in getting the word out. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.