It’s been a long season! When church gatherings were shuttered in March 2020 and everyone hyperventilated about getting on-line, the assumption was that everything would be back to normal by Easter (five short weeks in the future). That, of course, didn’t happen. We are closing in on two years of a topsy-turvy pandemic impacted ministry. It’s taken its toll. In a Barna survey of pastors, 51% admitted they are tired. Two in five said they’ve felt exhausted (41%), sad (41%) or panicked (39%) during the last week. So how can we move from exhaustion to exhilaration in 2022?
Here are some suggestions for restoring your passion
Review God’s Promises and Remember His Faithfulness
Scripture overflows with God’s promises to us. Here’s one, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jeremiah 31:25). Collecting and claiming God’s promises and reviewing God’s faithfulness to those promises in your life is a beautiful first step towards soul restoration.
Rediscover Your Heart Song
Everyone has something that makes their heart sing. It may be hiking a pristine forest, diving into a churning ocean, reading a great novel, strumming an old guitar or baking a favorite recipe. Whatever is your heart song, it should be sung a lot more in 2022 than it was in 2021.
Phone a Friend
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Lifeway Research highlighted the top five self-identified needs of pastors. Among them (69%) was “friendship and fellowship with others.” Phone a friend and find a time to meet regularly.
Explore a New Adventure
Nothing refreshes like the exhilaration of a new experience. Drive to a new downtown and discover a unique coffee shop or rent kayaks and paddle a rapid river or make a journey to a national park to hike and discover. Get out of your head space by discovering a fresh space.
Claim Your Sabbath
The Lifeway Research that named the top five self-identified needs of pastors also listed (62%) “consistency in personal prayer” as a need. Pastors preach soul-care but don’t always practice it. God’s gift to his newly freed people was a Sabbath’s rest. Pastors should reclaim that gift.
Find Excited Partners
The “great resignation” is happening in the workplace and the worship place. Since 2000, a quarter have dropped out of church. The first goal isn’t getting them back but having them join those excited for God’s work. Better Gideon’s army than a larger half-hearted militia.
Renew Your Vision
New days demand new ways. A refreshed vision that fits the unique opportunities of a changed world will reinvigorate ministry and mission. Even in today’s rapidly changing world there are many flourishing ministries. Here is what is true of them:
- They are Gospel-focused and discipleship-driven
- They have learned the heart language of culture (i.e., they speak to real concerns)
- They are highly adaptive and quickly adjust practices to meet opportunities
- They have created a people movement where friends invite friends
- They persistently keep faith and hope alive
- They have learned how to harness technology as the ministry’s front door