Your Personal Foundations Matter
The strength of your personal foundations should not be neglected while you are involved in ministry and leadership. A wide range of research has highlighted the importance of each foundation, linking them to a leader's ability to thrive in ministry rather than burn out. The stronger their foundations, the more able a leader is to cope with the demands of stress and workload, and the more likely they will be managing well or thriving.
Change is possible
While we each thrive or struggle for a range of reasons, the personal foundations outlined here can signal a valuable protection, or a key vulnerability in your life that you may be able to do something about.
Ministry is an activity with significant personal rewards as well as considerable demands and stresses. Many serve selflessly and sacrificially and perhaps with insufficient thought towards their long term survival or the life they are modelling to those around them. As a result, some are merely 'surviving' and some are even struggling, perhaps risking burnout.
Also, where circumstances outside of our control increase stress (e.g. the sudden loss of a team member, or a restructure), attending to personal foundations can help sustain a leader until the situation reaches a better equilibrium.
Whatever the cause of stress, if a leader doesn't examine their personal foundations and how they are currently travelling, they can risk burnout. Rather than failing to reflect and continuing to struggle, a leader might move towards thriving by responding differently to stress and strengthening their inner resources. Change is possible, and it is worth it!
Where to from here?
At NCLS Research we are interested in starting new conversations about sustainable leadership in Christian ministry. This brief overview is intended to start you reflecting. Our aim is to encourage you to reflect on each area, in order to help you become a more effective and sustainable leader.
Has any of this resulted in a 'wake-up call' for you in some area? How could you benefit from reflecting on these issues more?
What about the people you minister alongside - how could they benefit as well?
Could you discuss these issues as a team or with other supporters in a helpful and edifying way?
In future we at NCLS Research plan to provide more resources for leaders in sustainable leadership, including:
- assessments of your own personal foundations via an online survey;
- summaries of leadership groups in your movement or denomination;
- research papers targetting specific issues;
- self appraisals of the stressors you currently face;
- team resources that allow groups to further discuss and act on sustainable leadership issues.
It is our prayer that we will see more people in ministry thriving and less struggling, as we continue our research and development of resources in this important area. We would appreciate hearing your thoughts or suggestions on these resources.
Do you have feedback or suggestions for NCLS Research? You are welcome to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org