10 Ways to Grow as a Church Leader in 2016

1. Spend unhurried time with God, daily.

There’s a reason why this is #1. From this flows everything else. If you need more motivation, read “Are You Spiritually Healthy?” from our series on church leader health.

2. Prioritize your spouse and kids.

If you’re married and have kids, you already know how important this is. But if you had to grade your level of presence with your spouse and kids in 2015 (and that includes thinking about ministry when you’re at home with them), what would you give yourself? For many church leaders, this is an area in which we can always work to improve ourselves.

3. Seize learning opportunities.

Read recommended books. Listen to great podcasts. Don’t just graze online articles—consume them. Take advantage of conferences—especially ones where you don’t even have to travel to attend.

4. Eat healthy meals and snacks.

I struggled for the longest time with this, but once I made the change, I haven’t looked back. It’s helped immensely with my energy levels.

5. Exercise your body.

I shared part of my struggle with my weight in “Are You Physically Healthy?” It took me far too long (and the help of a counselor) to see how my poor eating and exercise habits were contributing so much to how badly I felt in many areas of my life.

6. Schedule rest.

Even God rested. Yet we forget that because we’re so often working the hardest on the day he set aside for us to rest. Be intentional with your time off—and really be “off” when you’re resting!

7. Be mentored and mentor others.

You’re never too old or experienced to learn more from those who are older and more experienced than you. You also hold a great deal of knowledge and insight that a younger or less experienced ministry leader could benefit from hearing. Allow someone else to pour their knowledge into you so you can do the same for someone else. Plus, one of the best ways to really learn is to teach.

8. Remember what really matters.

It’s not meeting your attendance or giving goals. It’s not having the most creative and visually dazzling worship service. It’s not getting to inbox zero every day. Those aren’t bad things necessarily, but they aren’t the best things. Your relationships are what matter most: with God, with your spouse, with your kids, with your family, with your friends, with your staff, with your church, and with anyone you come into contact with. Love God; love others.

9. Get help earlier rather than later.

If you know you need help and feel like you can’t talk to anyone, don’t wait for the problem to go away of its own accord. Don’t believe the lie that you can forget about it or try to let time heal the wound. By the time you think you may be dealing with a serious issue in your life, it may already be too late. Be a humble leader and ask for help before the problem becomes much larger than you can handle. God listens to the brokenhearted. If you’re not sure this is you, read “Are You Emotionally Healthy?” for some helpful questions to ask yourself.

10. Enjoy God and life.

If you’re not enjoying the ministry work you do, take an hour or a day to reflect on your “why.” Recall what you felt like when you first received Christ, or when you first decided to enter the ministry. Re-engage with God’s call on your life. And if you’ve been checked out from your relationships, whether with your spouse, kids, or staff, re-engage with them too. If you find the fun in what you do, joyful days will surely become your norm.

Which one will you focus on? Or, what would you add?