I used to run laps—now I am more apt to walk. Either way, I find that if I can muster the will power to begin, I can almost always finish the first lap. But if the loop is too short for a full run, I’m faced with a decision: should I quit or start my second lap? Lap number two is where adrenaline leaves off and perseverance gets its test. As we move out of 2020 into 2021, clergy and lay leaders face the challenge of rekindling energy for a year of new and different challenges.
In the wake of the 2019 United Methodist General Conference, I want to share some common patterns and feelings that you may recognize in yourself or others, as well as some suggestions for healthy ways to channel energy.
I needed something like Will Strunk’s Elements of Style for spirituality—pithy rules like “use the active voice” or “omit needless words,” to reorient my life the way Strunk’s book has sharpened up my writing. Here’s what I came up with.
The end of summer vacation can be the beginning of a downward spiral, or it can be an opportunity to begin to lead from a new, more health-giving place.
High-intensity congregational conflict is brutal on congregational leaders. Even though conflict generally emerges from deeper congregational and societal dynamics, members are likely to assume that leaders’ incompetence must be at least partly responsible.
I began my current career of teaching and consulting 30 years ago. In those three decades, I’ve watched several valued colleagues burn out, and also have experienced periods of stress and burnout myself. For the multitude of us who work in a “people profession” (and particularly in ministry), the seemingly endless demands of our work—along with family and community needs—can become overwhelming.