What factors influence your sustainability?
Many factors can influence your levels of ministry satisfaction and emotional exhaustion, and therefore your overall sustainability in ministry and leadership.
Some factors are external and can lie outside of your control, such as the life stage of your church, who you minister with, and the structure of your church or institution. While you can't always alter these factors, taking them into account can be helpful in realising the impact these factors have on you, or considering changes that might actually be possible.
Other factors you may be able to have some control over, include such things as having a supervisor or mentor to support you, your physical health, your level of training and taking time to rest and rejuvenate when you are tired.
Most influences can be either positive or negative - they can either enhance your levels of energy and satisfaction, or negatively contribute to boredom, exhaustion and burnout.
What factors are influencing your sustainability at the moment (either positively or negatively)?
If you could arrange the icons above, which would you put closest to you (showing the greatest positive or negative influences on you)?
Are there other factors, not shown above, that are important factors for you at the moment?
From Surviving to Thriving
Thinking about the different factors that influence your sustainability is an ongoing process, and one that you can talk with others about. You may be able to identify areas in your life and ministry that provide support or encouragement and take steps to preserve these. Considering the negative factors and talking about them can be an important step in learning to manage their impact on you, and to realistically account for why you might be struggling or thriving in your ministry at different times.
Whether you are coping with the challenges of ministry is not only due to the balance of positive and negative external factors. When two people experience the same stresses and demands, why does one struggle more than another? It is because we all have different points of vulnerability and different resources to draw on.
Whilst you consider the positive and negative influences in your life and ministry, you can also benefit from examining your own internal resources and strengthening areas of your life which could be foundational to you not only 'surviving in ministry' but moving towards thriving.