Article by Ryan Atkins
Foundational habits are crucial in all areas of life, whether it’s driving a vehicle, throwing a football, or establishing healthy Christian leadership. In his teaching, about having a balanced life, Michael Brodeur strongly encourages and presents the importance of developing and sustaining an individual intimate relationship with Christ. Cautioning church leaders regarding the ease of developing a “workman” mentality that focuses on events and tasks, he leads his audience into creating time and space to connect with God through the primary sources of prayer, worship and bible reading. By establishing this posture, we’re able to operate from a relational connection. In my opinion when regular intimacy with God is not maintained decisions are made by the harvest of yesterday’s counsel instead of fresh manna .
Grace allows us to recognize that intimacy with the Lord won’t always look the same. Life happenings and changes in life seasons will alter our routines such as prayer times, quantity of bible reading, and times of worship. During times of change it’s important to remember it’s okay to shift the quantity of time, but to maintain the depth of intimacy. Intimacy is developed with a surrender of a whole heart and a healthy abandon to draw closer to the Lord. However, structure creates opportunity, thus it’s important to have scheduled time to meet with the Lord.
Michael Brodeur also highlights the importance of protecting family time. Ministry life can become busy, yet a priority must be made to demonstrate how family is valued by the church leader. This involves creating a standard of spending quality time with your spouse and children. This requires being fully present physically, mentally and emotionally by not allowing your mind to be occupied with other things – so no allowing your mind to travel back to the office or forward next week’s outreach.
There are also unique considerations for church leaders who are single for whom community is especially critical. There is a difference between having personal space and alone time and isolating. It is very important not to isolate from community. Singles must be able to set up safeguards for themselves to combat thoughts or fears of loneliness and to project their sexual purity. Safeguards may look different for each person – whether living with housemates or having weekly scheduled times to get together with friends, the essence is to be rooted in healthy relationship.
Another matter that is vital for both married and single ministry leaders is the ability to create an accountability group. Accountability and connection are vital, and it’s important for the church leaders to surround themselves with people they trust and who love them. This group will also provide feedback and wisdom when situations call for it. As ministry leaders we need to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals. We need to create opportunity for healthy and open conversation and dialogue that allows the opportunity for fears, insecurities, hopes and dreams to be shared.
In conclusion as amazing as an opportunity it is to be a church leader, our identities and purposes are greater than leading a ministry. We must create room to allow ourselves to love God and love people, while maintaining a connection with our families and to enjoy the passions God has given us. This will allow us to be healthy and to equip others to have an eternal relationship with God, the almighty our one and true love.