Jon Shirley is a storyteller. He's a worship leader with over 25 years of experience in church leadership. He's a songwriter, speaker, and missional practitioner working with the Gathering Network - a network of missional communities in Kansas City. He is also the founder of Love and War - a network of Jesus-shaped worship leaders committed to the art of growing spiritual families that make disciples and live on mission with worship and prayer at the core.
We've been talking about this on my personal page and on The Core Space FB page. We would love to hear your thoughts.
How do you take care of yourself when it feels like you have nothing left?
Therapist Ken Howard has some great thoughts on how to protect yourself during heavy burn-out seasons.
* we had a few hiccups in our lo-fi video, but the content is so good we just had to post it.*
"I never thought i'd find myself in that spot".
What happens when things don't turn out the way you think they would? I spoke with Alaine Buchanan, professor and preacher about what it's like being a woman in ministry, asking for help, suicide, forgiveness and God.
I have been interviewing folks from all around on their experiences in ministry.
My hope is that through their stories, we will see ourselves and it will help us learn, grow from it so we can do what we are called to do. These videos are lo-fi, but the message isn't it.
For this video, I interviewed Mark Cork, a former Nazarene pastor turned Marketing Executive.
One of the gems he gave us was, "Leaving ministry, does not mean leaving ministry."He is wise and his insight is priceless.
Someone on my social feeds this week posted about Scarcity and Abundance and it stopped me in my tracks because of how much I saw myself in it.
If you have been in the ministry world for a bit, you probably have heard a sermon on the idea of Scarcity and Abundance thinking. Stephen Covey is credited with bringing this idea to the fore front in business circles. I, like most people, half-listened until it was taking over my life and thoughts.
Years ago, when I first started as a Creative Director at a large church in the Midwest, it was different than any other ministry position I had held previously. I spent so much of my time, in the first several years, worried and living in scarcity. Everything people did made me give them the side-eye. I trusted no one. Worried that I was going to be fired and replaced, I became resentful, cynical, and didn't share my gifts or talents. I would stay in my office avoiding people in the hope they wouldn't ask me to do anything extra. When another leader in the organization took an interest in me and my family, I pushed her away because I was pretty sure my boss asked her to spy on me for him. It wasn't the truth. She obviously saw me living the lonely scarcity life.
Once I realized how this way of living was crippling me, I knew I had to make a change. It isn’t easy shifting my thoughts to believing that there will always be enough for me, especially if I truly have faith that God will always provide. As I look at my life as a whole, I have gotten everything I've always needed (notice I didn't say wanted). I've never gone hungry, or without an opportunity to grow. It's so easy to fall back there, well, because i'm human.
This week I'm totally living the scarcity life and I'm wondering how I got back to this place. It doesn't feel good here, but here I am. I have found myself annoyed with the smallest things like someone not returning something that belonged to me back to my area. I haven't been able to see the big picture and I feel like things are shrinking. Even this afternoon as I was doing some work here at our house and I felt myself acting out with my family, reverting back to suspicion, living in fear, hoarding my resources and gifts. If I get quiet, I can see and hear myself doing these things. One thing I am grateful for are my family and friends. They do not allow me to wallow in this life, they side-eye me right back and tell me that whatever is going on is not going to fly.
William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”
Even while cycling through the news cycle recently, you can see the story of people living in scarcity. In Charlottesville, Virginia and other places in the world it shows up big time. These are folks who are clearly living in the scarcity life and feeling that there's not enough for them and hurting and resenting others because of fear. It's tough to see people living their life in that way. There's a quote from a modern poet named Hafiz that I've been marinating on and trying to remember often, "Fear is the cheapest room in the house and I'd like to see you living in better conditions." I'm hoping and praying that these folks will be open to a new way of thinking and being.
Here are a few quick tips that are helping me:
1. When scarcity thoughts surface, I try and remember I have more then enough and I am more than enough. Romans 12:12 lets us all in on the secret that things change when we transform our minds or change our way of thinking. In fact, all of Romans 12 is a guide for how to NOT live the scarcity life.
2. Holding my gifts/talents loosely. Giving more of my talents/gifts has changed my life. When I give I am able to find who I am.
3. Get quiet. When everything is loud I need to get quiet to hear what God is saying and what your next step is going to be. I go for a walk to clear my head of the noise.
So, how are you living? Are you living in the cheapest room in the house?
How can you make the leap to living like there will always be enough for you?
There's always a learning curve to any job and then there are big things that you wonder why no one told you. In ministry life, what things do you wish you had known? If you knew would it have affected your choice in accepting your position? I'd love to hear your stories. As always, posting here is anonymous if you need it to be.
Seth Godin is one of my favorite writers and thought leader. Here he writes about change and seeing things in different ways.
I think this can definitely be seen through the lens of ministry work.
What in your world can you see in a different way?
In search of familiarity
Ask someone what they do, and they'll probably talk about where they work. "I work in insurance," or even, "I work for Aetna."
Of course, most of the 47,000 people who work for Aetna don't do anything that's specifically insurance-y. They do security for Building 7, or they answer the phone for someone, or they work in the graphic design department.
Most people have been trained to come to work in search of familiarity and competence. To work with familiar people, doing familiar tasks, getting familiar feedback from a familiar boss. Competence is rewarded, coloring inside the lines is something we were taught in kindergarten.
People will do a bad (a truly noxious) job for a long time because it feels familiar. Legions of people will stick with a dying industry because it feels familiar.
The reason Kodak failed, it turns out, has nothing to do with grand corporate strategy (the people at the top saw it coming), and nothing to do with technology (the scientists and engineers got the early patents in digital cameras). Kodak failed because it was a chemical company and a bureaucracy, filled with people eager to do what they did yesterday.
Change is the unfamiliar.
Change creates incompetence.
In the face of change, the critical questions that leaders must start with are, "Why did people come to work here today? What did they sign up for?"
That's why it's so difficult to change the school system. Not because teachers and administrators don't care (they do!). It's because changing the school system isn't what they signed up for.
The solution is as simple as it is difficult: If you want to build an organization that thrives in change (and on change), hire and train people to do the paradoxical: To discover that the unfamiliar is the comfortable familiar they seek. Skiers like going downhill when it's cold, scuba divers like getting wet. That's their comfortable familiar. Perhaps you and your team can view change the same way.
From his blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com
I'm trying out a new series called, The Core Space Conversations. I plan on talking to regular people like us, who have either work at church or have previously worked at a church. We'll chat about their journey, whatever else pops up and get a few tips that they have learned along the way.
This time I had the chance to catch up with my friend, Andrea Crisp.
Andrea and I went to college together and she is now an Author, Speaker and Life Coach. Her journey from working on church staff to working for herself is probably one we all can relate. You are going to love this.
Easter is coming.
I've heard some leaders call it the Super Bowl of church, to which I usually roll my eyes. You aren't really playing a game, there's no ring, commercials suck and you don't get to go to Disney world afterwards.
If you are part of a team that puts together an entire production, five days of multiple services, mobilizes volunteers, coordinates the sunrise services, you are the real MVP. For me, it took the entire week beforehand psyching myself up (my own locker room-esque pep talk) to be able to do multiple services and then Easter dinner with my family.
Here are some things I've learned along the way that get me ready for the big day:
1. Don't take it personal. Your feelings will get hurt at one point or another. Tensions will be high. Don't let one moment ruin the entire week/weekend. It's up to you.
2. Excellence is not perfection. Excellence is doing the best you can with the tools you've been given.
3. Everyone is tired. You don't have the market cornered on this one. So keep the pettiness and cynicism to a minimum.
4. Remember this is not about you, it's not about any of us.
5. People are coming to your church some for the first time. If you invited someone to your home, you wouldn't be mad at them for asking you where the bathroom is.
6. Be sincere. Nobody wants you to be fake, but please be kind.
7. Support your team members. If you have a problem with the way someone is working or not working this is not the time to make a big scene and hash it out. The time for coaching is before or after the game. In the moment, we are all hands on deck and doing whatever it takes to make it all work. It's all for the greater cause.
8. Something will go wrong, it's inevitable. Your response in the moment when chaos erupts is what will make it a mountain or a molehill. You change and effect the atmosphere.
9. These are not the days to make big decisions about the future or career. If this weekend is horrible for you, this is not the day to quit or say anything that will give your boss a reason to free your future. Give it three weeks and if you still feel that way then proceed.
10. Remember why you started, and said yes to this position. If you can keep that perspective in mind you will see how it changes things. People experiencing life change, finding community and Jesus is really a great thing to witness.
What are some of your tips for big weekends like this one? Add your voice to this conversation. Let us know in the comments section below.
For time to time, we will hear from other voices on how they do what they do and how they got there.
Today we are hearing from the Gathering Network's Jordanne Bonfield on her calling and how it plays out in her life.
Some things to think about:
What do you know that you are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, called to do? Wherever you go?
How do you Balance your work, family, & friends?
Someone from our community wrote in to start the conversation. Feel free to add your voice!
I just got back from four refreshing days with girlfriends. We all pick a word for the year and have been doing this a few years. On our trip we were going to share our words, hopes and dreams for 2017. In December when I had nine glorious days off in a row, including two Sundays, (if you work at a church you understand how glorious two Sundays off in a row is!) I had lots of time to rest.
Days started to run together, I was sleeping in, drinking way to much coffee and realized why you might need more than one pair of pjs if you stay in them all day.
I was excelling in my introvertedness when I got a whisper…”balance”.
Balance. Seriously? That is my word?
So, I have begun to launch into a year long journey with balance. It is still only January and I have realized one major thing already. I tend to strive, strive, strive and then go home lock the door and ignore the entire world to recover.
(FYI my numbing drugs of choice are Pinterest, Instagram, TV and I always love to organize a closet)
Probably not healthy, but I bet many of you understand the dilemma. On my quest for balance I looked up the meaning of my word.
I anticipated the meaning of balance to have to do with equilibrium, but was struck by the banking definition of balance.
Amount available in an account for withdrawal or use. Computed by summing up all cleared or credited deposits, and deducting all withdrawals, debits and service charges.
So today I am here and at a standstill, pondering. My family is my world. My job is all about people. Relationships are at the core of what means most to me.
Questions I am now asking are,
-What is my balance available?
-Do I make deposits a priority?
-What are three non-negotiable daily deposits that would be healthy for me?
-Who/What am I allowing to make withdrawals, why and are they appropriate or a priority?
-What are the service charges/hidden fees that come with certain deposits/withdrawals?
I just realized something.
My account is out of balance.
Matthew 11:28 (BBE) Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest. .
I read this verse and had never seen it said this way before, "weighted down with care". For so many of us, we are the Core, the caregivers and we hold the weight of all that entails.. So today, I'm asking you how are you resting? How are you getting back your strength? You can't give out what isn't there...
It's a great reminder for us to pause, remember the things in us that don't reflect who we are created to be. It's a great time to reflect on the one who delights on making beauty from ashes. The more we reflect, the more effective we can be for the work that is set before us.
The 40 days till Easter can reawaken the dreams we may have let die and it can shake us from our weariness.
What dreams do you have that need life breathed into them?
What can you give up or start doing for the next 40 days that could change the trajectory of your life?
Let's explore together.
What sets your soul on fire? What wakes you up in the morning? Sometimes it's not what you are currently doing and that's ok. I'm a true believer about learning where you are so that when it's time to move you will be ready. If it is what you are currently doing, then how are you teaching others to pursue what sets their souls on fire? Feel free to share below!
How long have you been or were you at your ministry job? If longer than four years, do you feel this is when you started making an impact?
This short excerpt comes from Christine Caine's First Things First devotional.
I know a lot of us in ministry can relate to "working like the devil for the Lord" and how much of that busy work speaks to how we view our identity.
When I was in my late 20s, I was passionately serving God and so busy working in ministry that my weeks literally felt like one long day with a series of naps (and these were rare).
Yet when everything was quiet and it was just God and me, it felt like a gaping chasm was in my heart. So I kept working harder and harder, keeping longer and longer hours, hoping sooner or later that my heart would feel fulfilled.
Eventually, the stress and intensity of my schedule took their toll on my body, and I collapsed. Quite literally, in fact. I threw my back out, and my life came to a screeching halt. For the next three weeks (which felt like an eternity!), my days were spent lying on the couch, keeping very still to avoid the pain of movement.
As I lay there, I picked up my Bible and came across a verse in Psalms that I had probably read more than a hundred times, but that day these words came alive in a new way and arrested my heart: He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me (Psalm 18:19).
It was like God had a megaphone and was screaming to get my attention: “Christine, I delight in you. Not just people you minister to, not just in all that you accomplish in My name, but in you, My own precious daughter.”
Do you know that God delights in you, with all your faults and failings, just as you are? What you do for God will never be as important as who you are to Him – His precious child.