In our local churches, we are all on treadmills. Whether it’s a steady diet of meetings, deadlines, or maybe even rehearsals, for all of us, there’s the added pressure that weekend services are most definitely coming. Don’t get me wrong, they are probably all necessary routines (ok, at least most of them), but routines nevertheless have the potential to breed stagnancy and make the journey mundane. I even wonder if it’s one of the many contributors to so many in ministry experiencing burnout. I feel the even greater tragedy is that it has the potential to pollute our role as ministers of the gospel where we have the awesome opportunity to share life and help others walk in it daily. So how can you breathe life and vibrancy into your routine while walking on a treadmill each week? Here are some things that help me.
Consider Your Source.
Whenever I feel the pressures of life coming on, I can almost always attribute that I need more quality time with my Creator. Notice I didn’t say more time. It’s often not a case of me neglecting to do it, but I’m allowing even my source for intimate moments with the Savior to become routine or mundane. In those moments I try and find something that will jolt my routine. Sometimes I take a walk and talk to God. Sometimes I change my posture where I get on my knees or my face in humility before the Lord. Sometimes I find a different location that my senses aren’t used to like a lake or a mountain and it evokes different feelings of awe for a creative God. Whatever it takes, I know I don’t want to travel any further on that treadmill, and I’ll do anything to get off of it. When I consider my life-giving, life-breathing source is my relationship with Christ alone I can walk the same routine and see new sights.
Find Pace and Balance.
I remember one time when I was on a treadmill (it happens every now and then), I was running at a high speed which was fun for a while (a short while). But it didn’t take me long to realize I was in trouble. So I slowed my speed down, but was still struggling. Then I noticed that it was because I had the treadmill set to run at an intense incline. Soon I found not only a good speed, but a level height that allowed me to run a greater distance.
Ministry is a marathon, so pace and balance are so important. If you’re running at an unsustainable pace, well…you know…by definition you can’t maintain it. So another way to breathe life into the treadmill you’re on is to consider the pace and balance in your life. One of the first things I do is to identify what the greatest stressors are. We all have difficult things to deal with, things weighing us down, but we also all have certain things that absolutely suck the life out of us. What’s your thing? Once you identify those things, I suggest operating with some good ole fashioned delegation. 1. Delegate what you can. 2. Do what only you can. 3. Share what can best be done together.
This is also a great way you can utilize and develop the people and teams God has entrusted to you to help you accomplish the mission. Sometimes accomplishing the mission might involve getting something off your plate to allow you to do what only you can do with excellence. Sometimes our greatest enemy can be ourselves – we will hold onto ministry roles that we could easily share. When you make the necessary changes to find balance and healthy pace, you’re able to enjoy your treadmill and run longer and further. Remember, ministry is a marathon – not a sprint.
Finally, breathing life into your every week routine can happen through being a conduit to breathing life into others. Who is around you every week that needs encouragement? Who is sitting in the same meetings as you in need of prayer? Who is someone younger than you that needs mentoring from your personal experiences? Who needs a listening ear? You will be surprised how God will use you in areas like these and others as well. I have found when I’m others focused, my treadmill doesn’t seem so mundane. It’s certainly not the same path I walked last week.
Maybe you’re in the middle of your weekly routine right now. Maybe you sense stagnation…maybe you feel stuck. I feel confident if you consider your source, make the changes necessary for a healthy pace and balance, and be an outlet or conduit of God breathing life into others through you, you too can see and experience completely new experiences on your weekly treadmill.