If you've never read Jim Collins' bestselling leadership book, Good To Great, I highly recommend it. In his book, he tells a story that is very profound and gives us wisdom as we look at our current times in dealing with COVID-19 as leaders...
If I could give only one gift to the youth leaders of today, it would be a fresh dose of passion for the calling we are privileged to live out. It was once said, "The worst bankruptcy in the world is the leader who has lost his passion..."
It's the secret, unspoken fear of many of youth ministry's finest and most experienced leaders...they are concerned that they are getting "too old."
"Hey, Mother Teresa," the voice called out to me. "Thanks for helping me out." He slammed his car door, gunned the engine, and waved as he drove off the church parking lot. I smiled for a minute to myself, thinking of an old CNN interview I saw years ago with Mother Teresa. "Not a bad person to be compared to," I mentally assured myself.
Listen, we all have set-backs, we all have crises, we all have really challenging times...
Let's define BURNOUT. It's an emotional response we can all feel when we are carrying a large amount of weight. It's like the more we GIVE, the less fulfilled we FEEL. I would say the key word that explains burnout is demoralizing. You are just worn out. You don't want to give another ounce of yourself.
Are you discouraged today? How much did it take to make you discouraged?
Have people hurt me? Yes. Were they people whom I deeply loved, sincerely trusted, and honestly believed in? Of course. Were they less loyal, less faithful and less loving than I had hoped? Sure. But...
So you've spent hours and hours planning for your big event... it was going to be awesome... amazing... life changing... and it bombs! Big time!
I'm back there again! I'm hanging out, a bit begrudgingly, again in "God's Waiting Room." Ever been there before? It's the place where answers to prayer seem suspended in the heavenlies. The place where things that I thought would take 10 days...
I remember speaking for a group of several hundred students. The night felt like it went pretty well to me. Pretty well, that is, until an arrogant freshman in high school unloaded on me right after I walked off the platform.
"Can I talk to you, Jeanne?" he asked firmly.
Do you have EGR's in your ministry? You know, those "Extra Grace Required" kids? When we moved to Atlanta after leaving a ministry of 1,000 students a week in Sacramento, the small group of bored kids in the youth group here was a real wake-up call.
I have learned in my walk with Christ that "desert" experiences do not necessarily mean you have done anything wrong, but are often times part of God's plan for spiritual growth.
"Are you tired enough yet?" the internal voice asked me. And almost immediately, I knew what Jesus was trying to say. "Jeanne, what are you trying to prove? Are you exhausted enough now to finally think you have 'earned the right' to turn off your iPad and get some sleep?"
Because I have these breathtaking people around me and I never want them to feel like I'm not carrying my own weight, one of my most mammoth mind games and one of the biggest challenges I face is learning to take time off without guilt. Yet without this time, I know I cannot do effective ministry. So I try to follow a few simple rules:
There have been stages in my life, when I have been asked to go on when I have felt completely physically and emotionally drained and I have wondered how I possibly could. It was during those times that I remembered the moment when everything must have felt for Christ the emptiest and the most depleted...