This week's podcast focuses on ways to encourage the members of your 200church, and (spoiler alert!) the first key is that YOU have to be encouraged first! We as church leaders are only capable of giving as much as we contain. A dry river can't provide any water, and a discouraged leader will find it very difficult to encourage his or her congregation. So here are a few ways -not mentioned in the podcast- to stay encouraged as a 200church leader, so that you in turn can encourage your people.
Both of us at 200churches are currently taking seminary classes so this is something that we can often take for granted (or worse, dread), but reading is so important for pastors. When I first started out in the ministry I asked a pastor who had mentored me for some advice. He told me to read. Specifically, he told me to read more books than blogs and more blogs than facebook posts. So close that tab that you have Facebook or Twitter open on, finish this blog (obviously) and pick up a book! There are so many books out there for church leaders, ask around for some recommendations and get reading. Also, make a feed of your favorite blogs/podcasts that help encourage you. We hope that we'll make your list!
Not everybody consideres themselves a writer, but chances are if you're a church leader, you at least know how to write. This doesn't have to be the great American Novel, it can just be a list of accomplishments. Of goals reached. Or it could be some poetry, or a blog, or a journal. Get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper. This is a great exercise to help you remember what God has accomplished in your life and ministry and also to look forward to what is still to come! John Maxwell talks about this process and we at 200churches believe it's a valuable skill for leaders to stay encouraged!
Want to be encouraged? Think of 5 people in your church or ministry that you can write a thank you card to and get to it! Telling someone thank you for their hard work will in turn encourage you that there are people who are invested in your ministry! Another pastor friend of mine makes this a part of every Monday. He writes thank you cards to volunteers and spouses of volunteers to let them know that what they're doing is important to him, the church, and God. That simple act encourages him and gives him a reason to keep on going! It's a two-fold win that is as easy to incorporate as buying some cards and grabbing a pen.
If you're discouraged it will be more and more difficult for you to lead well. At 200churches, we really want to be an encouragement to you and to help you be the leader God intended you to be. Are there any other ways you stay encouraged as a pastor? Leave some tips in the comments!
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