As a leader, it’s really easy to get caught up in the always looking ahead mindset and forget to pause, reflect, and simply take some time to look back. It’s often the times when we look back at the faithfulness of God to us in the past that we are encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness to us in the future. One of the greatest blessings in my life were the people that God put strategically in my life over the past 15 years to mold and shape me into the leader and man that I am today. Today I share 5 lessons from those mentors that have helped form my ministry to students. These are in no particular order.
1. Leaders are students of the word: I love to read. In fact, at this very moment I have approximately 12 books on my shelf that are in the “to be read” stack. They range from leadership principles, cultural shifts, parenting, fiction, and personal spiritual development. None of those books could ever replace the Word of God. None of those books pierces to the deepest parts of my soul, instructs me in godliness, and exposes my inner thoughts and desires except God’s words. Student Pastors, carve out time each day to be in God’s word.
2. Share the gospel consistently with your peers: It’s easy as a Student Pastor check the box of evangelism each week by stating that you shared the gospel with lost students at your youth event. It’s true, you probably did. I was challenged by a mentor several years ago to really be pro-active in sharing my faith with a peer on a consistent basis. It’s easy to think about ministry within your “box” at church You’ll pour all of your time and ministry effort into that box. Be intentional about sharing Christ with someone not in that “box” as often as possible.
3. Learn to turn it off at home: We’re so over connected. Anyone can tweet me, text me, instagram me, email me, or call me anytime they want. Somehow we built into our lives this idea that anyone can have instant access to us whenever they want. The reality is that we give them that access by always being connected. We become slaves to their demands by simply being at their beckon call by never putting our phones down. Get a box, put your phone in that box as soon as you walk in the front door, and leave it there until your kids go to bed. It’ll transform your time with your family and give you some breathing room.
4. Learn from other people outside of vocational ministry: Some of my greatest lessons I have learned in being a better pastor has been by learning from other men and women who are believers that are serving Christ faithfully in their 9am-5pm job. Be intentional about learning from people in your church/in other churches that are faithfully loving Christ and serving others. It’s amazing what you’ll learn about the gospel!
5. Create time to dream in your calendar: If you’re not careful, you’ll quickly fill up your calendar with meetings, more meetings with a few more meetings sprinkled on the top. Sure, those meetings are necessary and sometimes helpful. As you begin to plan out your calendar for the month, take a look at it and see where you have created space to be alone with God, dream, pray, and be still before Him. If you don’t own your calendar, everyone else will. You have the ability to look at the calendar each month and set aside blocks of time to dream and pray. Do it. Do it now.