People in ministry have a tendency to run until they collapse. It is important to take care of staff members individually so they are continually sustained in all areas of life.
1. How are you doing spiritually?
As a young pastor, I don’t remember many people taking an interest in my personal spiritual life. My pastor was phenomenal at teaching us the Bible (and for that I’m forever grateful). But most of my early mentors didn’t help me develop my own disciplines for spiritual growth.
When I meet with staff members, I want to know how they’re doing spiritually.
In ministry, it’s way too easy to substitute ministry for our time with God. Doing ministry without spending time with God is like trying to drive a car without refilling the tank. Eventually, it just won’t work anymore.
Bill Hybels once said, “The way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in me.”
I don’t want that to happen to those who serve with me.
So… how are you doing spiritually?
2. Who is speaking into your life?
In the early years of our ministry, I poured my life into each staff member. Now, with a large staff in many locations, I can no longer invest in every individual staff member.
That’s why I want to know, “Who is speaking into your life?”
- Who’s rattling your world?
- Who thinks so radically that they give you a headache?
- Who’s correcting you when you need it?
I want to give honor to Lyle Schaller for all the years he “disturbed” me with his wild ideas. Also, Bill Hybels and Andy Stanley have spoken wisdom into my life in a profound way. I’m deeply grateful to all of them.
Who is speaking into your life? What are you learning from their influence?
3. How is your family doing?
Amy and I have six kids. When Amy was pregnant with our second child, someone I admired in ministry warned me, “You’d better stop at two children. Kids will hinder your ministry.”
That comment crushed me.
My family is a big part of ministry. Hopefully, I’m raising future Christian leaders who will bring glory to God in the world.
Churches (usually unintentionally) can be harmful to families. We put such crazy scheduling demands on pastors and staff members that having a strong family is almost impossible.
I believe a strong ministry is an overflow of a strong family (Although, I’m not saying you have to be married to have a strong ministry).
God has given me a deep burden for our staff’s families. I regularly talk about guarding family time. No one will do it for you.
What about you? How is your family?
4. When is the last time you failed?
This may sound like an unusual question, but it’s one of my favorites to ask. I want to know from our staff, “When is the last time you failed?”
When you’re not failing, you’re not growing. Some of the most valuable lessons the disciples learned from Jesus immediately followed failure. Jesus allowed them to fail.
I’m glad to say that I’ve tried a few things recently that didn’t go so well. The good news is:
- When I fail, it gives me the chance to learn.
- When I fail, I increase my tolerance for failure, helping me not to become complacent.
- When I fail, I continue to inspire others to take faith risks.
What about you? When is the last time you’ve failed?