Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Heb 13:7
What will be the outcome of your way of life?
Sooner or later 95% of leaders - and church planters are no exception - find themselves in a place where they can't go on. Truth is, nothing prepares you for that.
But there are some healthy disciplines into your life right now that would help you navigate the storms when they hit.
1. Take a break
Jesus' rhythm of life and ministry was engagement and withdrawal. So if you're always "on" who are you following? Show me your diary. Where's the space for renewal? When was the last time you took a proper day off? When was the last time you had a family holiday? Are you really that indispensable?
2. Get a coach
Sit down monthly, even better weekly, with a good coach and you'll greatly enhance your effectiveness as a leader and your ability to ride the bumps. The first job of a good coach is to get you talking; to help you reflect on reality and to help you refocus as you move forward. Find someone who can do that. The Startup Guide to Coaching Leaders will give you an idea of what you should be looking for in a coach.
3. Confess your sins
You're not even in the game as a leader if your life is out of control. So who knows about your struggles. Who do you confess your sins to on a regular basis? Who is holding you accountable? Neil Cole has come up with a simple model of accountability groups. All you need is one or two others and an hour week.
4. Find some companions
Either Bob Logan or Neil Cole came up with this idea. Find two other church planters at a similar stage. Meet monthly for 90 minutes. Each one shares their story for 30 minutes. No fixing. The others just ask good coaching questions. Then you pray for each other.
5. Get perspective
Leaders who finish well have a lifetime perspective on their development. They see their current assignment in that context. They see God shaping their character, faith and ministry skills and leading them towards an ultimate unique contribution.
6. Cultivate a secret history with God
No leader finishes well without going this journey. Does God deeply satisfy your soul? What spiritual disciplines work for you and how can you get more of them? What new discipline can you add this year? The late Brent Rue has a great message on this theme: Secret History.
7. Have some fun
Is it sailing? Is it hiking? Is the theatre? Is it the garden? Is it watching your kids play sport? Whatever it is that you love to do, make sure there's some time in your calendar to do it. And remember to feel God's pleasure as you waste time in this pursuit.