The second step toward finding balance between life and work requires development of goals across the following work domains:
- burnout prevention and recovery
- church conflict and relationship building
- academic development
- work and ministry
Every minister faces numerous life transitions including:
- Retirement Transition
- Physical Transitions (e.g., moving to a new church or parish, including a move to a new culture)
- Empty Nest (when a child leaves home)
- Prodigal Children
- Recovery from a crisis
The Transitions page discusses many factors affecting transitions and offers resources for some of the more common transitions.
What are your most likely transitions over the next five years?
What are your plans for those potential transitions?
What could block those plans?
Burnout prevention and recovery
Every minister eventually faces burnout. However, modern science provides skills that now makes burnout almost totally preventable. Some of these skills are described on the Burnout page on this website. However, the skills remain useless without a plan for using each skill.
- What are your plans for developing physical resilience, using:
- What are your plans for developing emotional resilience, using:
- Reversing Rumination
- Personal Goals
- Ministry Goals
- Pursuing The Right Goals
- What are your plans for developing spiritual resilience, using:
- Truthful Thinking to Build Resilience
- Your “Ministry Call” to Build Resilience
- Thankfulness To Build Resilience
- Hope And Suffering To Build Resilience
- Resilient Character Traits
Eventually every minister faces conflict, often with those whom they least expect. Church conflict represents one of the primary factors affecting motivation, apathy and burnout. To a large degree, ministers can prevent conflict and discord by implementing relationship and communication skills. That is, these skills function extremely well as preventative measures.
The webpage on Church Conflict lists seven skills for dealing with conflict, and four skills for preventing conflict. What are your plans for implementing each of these skills in your church?
Peterson (2006, 92) reports many correlations between life conditions and life satisfaction. His study shows that education fails to correlate with life satisfaction. However, the effect of past educational accomplishments remains quite different than the effect of present and future academic pursuits. Snider (1994) shows that academic pursuit builds an internal locus of self-control (a sense of self-efficacy). Self-efficacy builds hopeful thinking and self-esteem. And hopeful thinking and self-esteem build resilience.
When I (Nathan) planned to retire from working for the Air Force, I spent four years taking new educational courses, all prior to transitioning into ministry. What initially stimulated high anxiety resulted in progressively lower anxiety as I prepared fully for a new ministry and a new lifestyle. The success of the transition depended on four years of detailed plans and education. As you plan for continued ministry, what new academic goals are needed to support your development?
Dr. Joseph Castleberry, president of Northwest University, also served as a missionary to Ecuador. He makes the following observation about possibilities for life-long learning:
No matter what age or phase of ministry a particular student may be in, seminary and formal education can play a crucial role in providing them with tools that will take them to a new level of professionalism. Just as important, seminary study occurs in the context of deep commitment to the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus desires to pour out on the young and the old, on men and women, and on people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and walks of life.
- What are your academic goals? Lifelong learning represents a fundamental element of well-being.
- What courses would help you better accomplish your call and your personal growth?
- What SMART academic goals will you pursue?
Descrbe your work (ministry) related goals for the next five years. Please note that these goals are relatively unrelated to your personal spiritual goals. Instead they simply describe goals to build a successful church or ministry from a secular standpoint. How can you describe them as SMART goals?
© 2013 Nathan Davis