Friday, June 19, 2009

Leading on Empty

Have you ever run out of gas? I have. I was driving back from youth camp in Birmingham on Interstate 65 in the early 80s. The fuel gauge was close to empty, but I had to be back in Pensacola at a certain time, so I pressed on. Besides, I was driving a brand new automobile that I had purchased a few weeks before, and with the good gas mileage was certain I could make it.

I didn’t.

Running out of gas on I65 and being stranded on the side of the road in the middle of Timbuktu (Tim-Buck-Too) was no fun. Of course it came as no surprise to discover that running out of gas was a much bigger setback than if I had simply taken just a few minutes to stop and fill up. I was in my twenties then. I’m much wiser now.

Driving on empty is not smart. Leading on empty is less smart. I still have a tendency to ‘go all the time’ without stopping long enough to refill my energy reserves. I’m not alone. Most pastors and church workers do too much. Many leave the ministry. Very few finish well.

God calls church leaders to lead smarter, not harder, for the sake of the kingdom. The only way to accomplish that is to prevent burnout.

Here are some tips all of us need to abide by:

1. Solitary Refinement.

2. Find ‘Still Waters.’

3. Weekly Sabbaths.

4. Annual Sabbatical.

5. Learning to say ‘no.’

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