Staying Engaged When You’ve “Been There, Done That”
If you’ve been in ministry for any amount of time, you’ve been there. (And if you haven’t, hang on: your day is coming.)
You’re entering into another ministry cycle with the same type of event, the same playbook, the same repetitive systems and plans and projected outcomes.
And no matter the impact of the event (something I’m not fully debating in this post…that’s another argument for another day), the fact that you’ve done it before makes you feel a little like … well … you’ve done it all before.
After almost 30 years of ministry, I’ve done my fair share of repeating events. And it’s all too easy to battle the proverbial yawns and be tempted to just phone it in. So how do you re-engage your heart and your mind to make sure you’re bringing your best?
1. Remind yourself of the big win.
If there’s not a win to the event or project, then by all means don’t do it. If it has outlived its usefulness, maybe let it die a dignified death. But if there is still merit, put it on your whiteboard or slap it on a post-it note or jot it in your journal. Look back to how God has used this in the past, and trust that he’ll use it again in the future.
2. Recruit a cheerleader.
Get honest with a friend or co-worker and let them know that (a) you’re not super-excited about this season and (b) you need them to encourage you. I’ve done that in the past with both co-workers and my supervisor, and they usually deliver just the motivation I need to get re-excited about what’s coming.
3. Be the cheerleader.
Practice your “rally cry” to your volunteers or staff members before you deliver it. This is not about creating false momentum, but about hearing the passion (or lack thereof) in your own voice. Sometimes getting others excited is the tipping point for getting ourselves excited.
4. Introduce something new.
If you’ve been running the exact same play on this annual event for the last dozen years, mix it up. Throw in some new element that will grab your focus and pose a challenge to you and your team. For some projects, the project itself is fine, it’s all of the work surrounding the project that bores us.
(You knew this was coming.) Ask God to show you his heart for what’s in front of you. How can he use you? Your team? How will he use this event in the lives of those you lead? How will he work through this to change lives? Hearing a fresh word from the Lord can work wonders in breathing new life into dead bones.