Before we dive into my notes from his talk… I want you to take a moment to stop and really get to a place where you can be real and honest with yourself.
Think about the following questions and just answer them for yourself.
- Do you often feel overwhelmed or stressed?
- Do you feel that you’re overworked?
- Was there a time in your past that you would say you were closer to God than you are today?
Craig gave us a great illustration. He told of when he was working out and doing bench presses. He continued to do 9… 10… 11… and he thought maybe just one more. That 12th bench press… he couldn’t lift it up again. This is similar to working in ministry.
We think we’re doing so well and that we can’t ever fall off the path but then that 12th bench press comes and we just can’t do it anymore.
The following is basically just my notes. The ideas here are all Craig’s, not mine.
I will do today what I can do, to enable me to do tomorrow, what I can’t do today.
- Too many people are trying to do too much too soon.
- Be faithful with what God has put in front of you today.
- Do something every single day of your life to defeat your dark side, the side of you that is not pleasing to God.
- One of the most healthy things you can do to enhance your spiritual life is to identify your dark side.
- Often times you’re concerned with what people will think of you rather than what God will think of you.
- You will never ever become what God wants you to be if you’re constantly obsessed with what other people think of you.
You can’t be leaders in a church if you’re constantly thinking that you’ll never have enough. Craig’s church is giving things away… free of charge. When the offering plate goes by at Craig’s church, he tells people to take from the plate if they are in a place where they need food or clothing for their family.
He says that for the first 3 years when he said that, he was scared. But it was a good thing because it filled a need. It was putting complete trust in God.
Create artificial ministry deadlines.
- One of the biggest problems with ministers today is not that they don’t care… but it’s that they care too much that they end up sacrificing family and other things that are important.
- Make a commitment to leave work at a certain time and stick with that schedule. Not because you’re done with work but because it will always be there for you the next day.
- Artificial deadlines force you to:
- Make faster decisions
- Be sharper and delegate better
- Disregard unimportant activities
- Make the decision that you know you’re going to make 7 days later now
- Ministry will kill your relationship with God if you’re not careful.
The way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God in me.
– Bill Hybels
What Craig is saying with this section is that it’s important to spend time away from the office. Family time is more important than what you’re doing at the church! A lot of people have gotten so caught up in their work because, they are doing God’s work, that they forget to spend time with the people who should be the most important to them… their family. If you’re working in ministry and you’re working 80 hours a week, STOP! You’re not delegating enough, you’re not making decisions fast enough, you’re not disregarding unimportant activities. Go home! Spend time with your family! They need you more.
Delegate what someone else can do.
Don’t delegate responsibilities. Delegate authority. Delegating responsibilities creates followers. Delegating authority creates leaders.
– Craig Groeschel
Say to someone… “here’s a project… tackle it!” They’re not going to do it right the first time. But they’re going to learn something. If you micro-manage a leader… he or she will never grow as a leader, or he or she will go somewhere else. Give more away. Be free. Create. Delegate. If someone can do something 70% as well as you can… give it to them.
If they don’t do it as well as you do, the only way they’ll learn is if you give them the authority to do it themselves. It’s a hard thing to do. Trust me, I know. But it’s something that has to be done. Never brag about not taking time off. That is the sign of a poor leader. It means you haven’t raised up anyone else to do ministry.
Do something only you can do.
- Husbands… you are the only one who can be a husband to your wives.
- Wives… you are the only one who can be a wife to your husbands.
- Fathers… you are the only one who can father your children.
- Mothers… you are the only one who can mother your children.
- Design your ministries around your values. Do not sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry.
- Are you okay with the fact that you are often overwhelmed and stressed?
- Are you okay with the fact that you were closer to God at another point in life than right now?
- Are you okay with the fact that your marriage might not be where it should be because the other person in your life is the church?
The most sobering moment for me was when I asked my son, what do you want to be when you grow up? And he said, Daddy, I want to be what you are. I said, oh… you want to be a pastor? He said, no… I want to be the best Daddy ever.
What a powerful message Craig has for us here. In order to effectively do the work of God in the church, we have to first be close with God ourselves. Otherwise we will burn ourselves out and forget to spend time with our families, the people that love us the most.
[Image by: Scott Fillmer]