Church leadership can be one of the most rewarding experiences, but also a roller coaster of emotions.
It’s a series of highs and lows that may be so extreme that some leaders feel like giving up ministry completely. Believe or not, it doesn’t have to be this way.
While you’ll still have good and bad days, it’s time to step off the roller coaster and find more balance in your life.
Understand Why It’s Emotional
You can’t really deal with the emotional roller coaster of church leadership unless you first understand what makes it so emotional. All you may know is how you feel, but not the why behind it. Church leaders are in a unique position. Those who are closest to them not only share the same beliefs, but look up to you for guidance. You’re not just a spouse, parent or friend. You’re also a spiritual leader.
When issues arise in the circle of friendship, family, community and leadership, emotions start to run high. Maybe you’re arguing with your spouse over finances or your closest friends are questioning your ministry choices. It’s easy to start taking everything personally and it’s impossible to separate your home and work life in this field. In a nutshell, the lines are constantly blurred and you never have a chance to breathe and calm your emotions.
Expand Your Circle Of Friends
You might have hundreds of friends, but think about how they tie back to your life. Odds are, they’re church members, fellow church leaders in your community or own church and relatives. They all have strong relationships with you, but you’re also their leader. Think about it as the only people you ever talk to you are your co-workers. That’s not always a good thing.
Take some time to expand your circle of friends to people outside of your church and community. Go to a Christian conference (we covered a list of annual conferences to get you started) or reconnect with friends from high school and college who’ve moved away. Just having someone serving as the friend who’s not immediately involved in whatever’s making you emotional will help.
Never Go To Bed Angry
Everybody’s heard the phrase “never go to bed angry.” The same applies to church leadership. If you go to be emotionally drained or plan tomorrow or the following week based on your current negative emotional state, you’ll regret it. Take some time before you go to bed to calm yourself. Try meditation apps to get you out of your own head and let the stress go. Or, use guided Christian meditation scripts.
After all, how many people have you seen fall asleep on a roller coaster? If your emotions feel this way, you won’t sleep either. Give yourself some serious relaxation time before bed to help you start fresh.
Take Your Own Spiritual Time
This might sound crazy since your entire life is about ministry. However, how much of it is about you? You help guide others, but what about yourself? Church leadership doesn’t mean you can’t take time out specifically for your own spiritual needs. Set aside time to read your Bible and find devotionals targeted to Christian leaders.
As an added bonus, taking this time helps refocus your mind while calming your emotions. Use what you’ve learned or thought about as inspiration for your next sermon or blog post. Odds are, if you’re struggling with something, so is someone else.
Seek Out Counseling
Sometimes the emotional roller coaster gets so bad that you need professional help. If you start to feel angry all the time or depressed, seek out a counselor who specializes in Christian counseling. They better understand your struggles and give you someone to vent out all your frustrations while helping you find ways to overcome the emotional roller coaster ride.
Spend Quality Time Outside Of Ministry
It’s not a sin to take some time away from ministry activities for an hour or two. Church leadership often feels like a 24/7 job, but if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of others. Start a new hobby or pick up one you left behind. Devote time daily or multiple times per week to your hobby. Just taking this small break is often enough to help you find more balance in your life and emotions.
Create Or Join A Christian Leaders Group
Since church leadership is such a unique calling, talking with other Christian leaders (outside of your normal group) helps. Look for groups on Facebook where other church leaders come to discuss their emotions and struggles. They also share their achievements. Sometimes knowing you’re not alone makes you feel better. Think of it as a church leadership support group.
When you’re taking a break to take care of yourself, keep members engaged with a church website. Contact us today to find out how we can help your church expand its reach online.