I’ve often heard it said some people “never grow up”. It is said in a humorous way. My wife may say that about me at times. But, many times it is said in a not so funny way, usually speaking of a person’s continued immaturity.
I have another thought. Maybe for some people it is that they have never had an experience that instills maturity in them. It’s possible.
I’ve personally experienced and observed that there are some circumstances in life that bring more automatic maturity…a sort of forced growing up mentality.
Here are 7 things I’ve seen force someone to grow up quickly:
A first child
Losing a parent
Having to make it on your own
You can mature naturally. You can grow up over time. But, in my experience, you grow up faster when life experience grows you up. You don’t have to grow in these experiences. Some don’t. You either own up to the challenge, or you don’t. But, when you do, you grow up faster. At least, that’s been my observation.
(By the way, that’s why I believe in giving young leaders experience where they can grow. You can read a post about that HERE.)
Have you ever been forced into a new season of maturity? What caused you to suddenly “grow up”?
What would you add to my list?
It is what it is…
My father was probably the most bottom line guy I know. One of his most quotable lines was “The main thing is don’t get excited.” If anyone was ever tempted to stress about an issue he would interject that often repeated line.
Occasionally, I remember him adding another sentence into stressful moments. He would say, “It is what it is…”.
In other words, you can’t change it now. That’s a fact, Jack.
Admitting that “it is what it is” allows you to quit complaining and actually do something about it.
Do you need to admit:
Your marriage is in trouble…
You have a spending problem…
You’ve let your weight get out of control…
You’ve been a lousy friend…
Your relationship with God is struggling…
You are surrounding yourself with bad influencers…
You are in over your head…
(Insert yours here)
It is what it is…
Now that you’ve admitted IT…
What are you going to do about it?
Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand…
Or on the wall…or in your mind.
I’ve worked with many people who can’t seem to move forward, because of a past failure or disappointment.
It could be a marriage damaged by an affair. The injured spouse is not sure she (or he) can ever trust again. After counseling, time to heal, and repentance on the part of the offender, the injured spouse simply can’t seem to forgive and move forward to build the marriage again.
It could be after a personal failure. The person feels they will never recover, so they refuse to take another risk. They remain miserable, but they can’t seem to pull themselves out of the emotional hold they’ve placed on their life. They may not be able to internalize the truth of God’s grace in their life.
It could be after a financial loss. The person can’t see that life will be any better than it is right now, so they refuse to invest or dream again.
Whatever the reason…and I’ve seen many…life has a way of sucking the passion to move forward out of us at times.
In circumstances like these (and many others), one mental “exercise” I’ve done is to draw a mental line indicating a starting over point. I’ve even drawn it on a board for people, such as the picture above. There’s nothing “magical” about this practice. It’s simply an opportunity to remind yourself of the truth that you can “forget what is behind and press forward”. (Philippians 3:13) You can begin again. You can make better choices. You can get up (again) and take another risk on life. You can do it today!
Get out a piece of paper, if it’s serious enough, draw it on the wall of your house, but maybe just a mental picture…then sign and dated it…Yesterday was then, today is today, and tomorrow is tomorrow. Move forward from this point with the rest of your life.
Do you need to draw a line?
Wherever you draw the line, draw it today!
This is a guest post by Greg Baird. Greg is founder of KidMin360. help churches build great children’s & family ministry. His passion is to assist children’s & family leaders to serve kids, parents, volunteers, staff & other leaders to their full capacity. Greg’s experience is gained over 20 years as a children’s pastor.
Here is Greg’s post:
How To Have A Healthy Children’s Ministry
Effective Children’s Ministry is critical to a healthy church. It impacts the church in all directions. Virtually everyone in the church is linked to Children’s Ministry in some way or another. Parents often judge their commitment (and attendance!) to the church based on whether their kids like the Children’s Ministry. And, of course, we all know the spiritual impact that can be made in the lives of children.
So how do we create healthy Children’s Ministry? Every church is different, every ministry unique, and it takes far more than a blog post to answer that question. However, here’s the framework of a model that I’ve found applies to each environment I’ve ever associated with over the past 25 years:
1. Establish a strong foundation. Focus on:
- Vision that is effectively aligned with the overall vision of the church.
- A commitment to strong leadership, not just functional administration.
2. Evaluate as a matter of habit. Focus on:
- Systems, structures & processes that empower leaders.
- Creating avenues of communication between staff & within Children’s Ministry.
3. Embrace spiritual formation. Focus on:
- Creating a purposeful plan beginning at birth.
- The centrality of the Gospel in all teaching.
4. Equip others to do the work of the ministry. Focus on:
- Equipping parents to disciple their own children.
- Developing leaders (not just followers) to assume responsibility for ministry.
5. Engage children for life change. Focus on:
- Environments that capture their imagination.
- Methods that capture their heart.
Is it simple? Yes. Is it easy? No. Children’s Ministry is the single most complex department in the church. No other ministry reaches or involves so many individuals or impacts so many other departments, targets such a broad audience developmentally, requires such intense oversight, or is liable for so many risks.
But no other ministry can spiritually impact at any deeper level than children’s ministry. The spiritual outlook of a person is formed in the early years, and studies show that 85% of those who accept Christ will do so between the ages of 4 & 14.
A healthy Children’s Ministry is critical to a healthy church.
What would you add for creating healthy Children’s Ministry?
For more help with children’s ministry, in the areas of staffing, coaching, training, development or resources, check out the KidMin360.
In your relationship with God.
In your career.
In your social media activity.
In your education.
In your financial life.
In your life planning.
In relationship building.
The “secret” that separates many from succeeding or failing is the degree in which they were purposeful in attaining what they hope to achieve.
Not getting the success you’re looking for these day? What’s the secret?
In what area of your life do you need to be more purposeful?
This is a hard word for some pastors, but after a recent post I was asked about how I protect my Sabbath. That’s a great question, because many pastors struggle in this area. In fact, many pastors I know who would teach their church to observe the Sabbath, seldom do so personally. This fact alone is one of the leading causes of pastoral burnout, in my opinion.
Protecting my Sabbath has proven to be crucial in protecting my ministry.
I observe my Sabbath day on Saturday most weeks. It’s my day with Cheryl. It’s not a day where I do nothing. That’s not how I rest. It’s a day where I do what I want to do. On my Sabbath, I don’t work. I play. I rest. I recharge. I clear my head and prepare for the week ahead.
Here are 7 ways I protect my Sabbath:
Recognize the value – I have to realize there is a reason to observe a Sabbath. It’s almost like God knew what He was doing. If I value it enough, I’ll make it a priority. The value of a Sabbath is not only for myself, but it aligns me with God’s design for mankind. “On the 7th day He rested”. Have you read that somewhere? We were created with a need for the Sabbath. That makes it valuable.
Make it a priority – Not only do I value the importance, but I make it a priority in my week. As important as any other day, my Sabbath is a must do part of my week. A Sabbath is good for the pastor, the pastor’s family and the church. That’s worth prioritizing.
Place it on the calendar – The Sabbath needs to be planned in advance. If you think it’s going to happen when you “catch up”, you’ll never take a Sabbath. Depending on the size of your staff or the demands of your church, your day may not be the same as mine, but you choose a day that works best and calendar it regularly.
Trust others – One of the leading reasons I hear for pastors not taking a day off is that they don’t have anyone who can handle their responsibilities. This is especially true in churches where the pastor is the only staff member. Regardless of staff size, pastors need to surround themselves with some healthy people and take a risk on them. I delegate well so that when I’m gone I know things will continue to operate efficiently. Ultimately, however, when I honor my Sabbath I’m demonstrating that I trust God. After all, the plan was His idea.
Discipline myself – I just do it. I make myself take a day off. (You should consider this discipline!) Now, here’s the hard part of that. In addition to saying “Yes” to yourself, you have to discipline yourself to say “No” to others. Without a doubt, if you try to protect a day there will be multiple invitations, seemingly good opportunities, and non-emergency interruptions. It will happen. You’ll have to continually help others (and yourself) understand the value in this discipline. It’s part of being a healthy pastor. And, I assume, most churches want that. Frankly some will never understand the value in your Sabbath (even if they see the value for themselves), but they will also be the first one to complain if you aren’t performing at your best in other areas of your ministry.
Prepare for it – I have to work hard prior to a Sabbath so I can comfortably take it without reservation. That means I handle any details I can in advance. Whether a pastor works five or six days a week, (I personally work 6) it is important to work hard and smart enough where there is no guilt in taking your deserved and commanded sabbath. Not trying to be cruel here, but if you are not finding time to take a Sabbath, it could be a planning and organizational problem as much as it is a demand of your time problem.
Learn to enjoy -Some pastors, like me, are not wired for a Sabbath. I realize some people have no problem taking a day off, but I honestly would work seven days straight if no one stopped me. There’s always plenty to do. I’ve learned, however, that I function better the other 6 days if I have one day that I’m not working. It’s been a challenge to maintain it, but I now truly look forward to the rest. It’s proven to be as important for my wife as it is for me and when she’s happy, I’m happy.
Now, please understand, there are no perfect plans. This works most of the time for me, but not all of the time. There are, of course, exceptions, interruptions, and Kingdom opportunities, which cause me to not be able to protect every Sabbath day. (Jesus had those too.) As much as is possible, however, I stick with this plan, and when it is interrupted, especially if it happens several weeks in a row, I will make up the time with some extra time away. I try to get my downtime back at some point. It’s that important to me now.
Pastor, are you protecting your Sabbath? Be honest.
The strength and success of your ministry may depend on it.
Pastor, what tips do you have for helping some of my burned out pastor friends maintain a weekly Sabbath?
Bonus question: Pastor, do you have a plan for extended time a way…a Sabbatical of some form? Could you share what you do in this area to help the rest of us?
I’ve lived in Clarksville, Tennessee all my life. So has Cheryl. I know that’s unusual at our age. Most people we know, especially in a military town have moved multiple times by now. It’s surprising to me too, because I never thought I’d stay past college. In fact, I went away when I started college, only to return and finish at our hometown Austin Peay State University.
Well, as much as I love my city, I’m moving.
If you haven’t heard, I’m in a ministry transition. I’ll be sharing more about that in the days to come, but we said goodbye this week. We have a few weeks of transition time, but for all practical purposes, our time here is done. We leave today for vacation and then we are basically just in and out for moving purposes.
There are some things I’m going to especially miss. (Every time I say that people remind me what Lexington has to offer. I understand that and we are excited about the new. You can be excited about new and still sad about the what you’re leaving.)
Here are 7 things I’ll miss about Clarksville:
Family – Being from here means we have lots of extended family here. Our family trees are both wide in this area. Our son and daughter-in-law are close by. Both our mothers are still here and we each have brothers and sisters in the area. We love them. We’ll miss seeing them whenever we want.
Friends – Our best friends live in Clarksville. Having been active in the community, serving in elected office, and pastoring a large church, I know lots of people. We will miss seeing so many friendly faces we already know and love.
Grace – Grace has been a miracle the last 7 years. God has brought so many wonderful people into our lives through this church. The staff are some of our best friends. We will miss worshipping, fellowshipping and serving with them.
Fort Campbell – Growing up in a military town is one of the greatest blessings in life. I’m patriotic, because I’ve lived among modern-day heroes. The soldiers and families here are dedicated, hard-working, and sacrificial. We will miss seeing all the uniforms and bumping into soldiers in restaurants and in the stores. Hooah!
First Baptist Church – My home church is where I was saved, discipled, and sent out for vocational ministry. My family still attends there. I’ll miss driving or running by and the good people I’ve known all my life. Many of my closest mentors are still in that church.
Downtown living – We’ve only done so for a year and a half, but we’ve loved every minute of it. Thankfully, we are planning to move to a fun walking area in Lexington, but we’ll miss the river walk, the downtown festivals and the art walks of Clarksville.
Austin Peay – We are both graduates and have supported the university and been friends with administrators, professors and students. Cheryl and I eat frequently on campus, I work out at the school’s fitness center, and I run through the campus almost everyday. We’ll miss the university that’s educated us and many in our family.
That’s just a start. I know it’s a short list but it represents so much more…so many faces…so many memories. Good times. (Mostly). We’ve invested much of our heart and lives here. We are going to miss you.
Goodbye Clarksville. We love you.
Just curious, what’s the longest you’ve lived in one city? Also how many different cities have some of you lived in?