Do you know what stagnation in the ministry is? It happens when ministry becomes dull, unexciting, routine, and altogether undesirable. This is the kind of downward slide that can happen to pastors, Sunday School teachers, church volunteers, and basically anybody. Stagnation begins when you stop learning, cease discovering, and just let your mind lie fallow. What if you could reverse this? What if you could launch back into a lifestyle of mental energy, sharpen your edge, and improve your ministry? It’s possible.
Seven Ways to Reverse Stagnation and Improve Your Ministry
Here are seven ways to improve your ministry by enhancing your mind. Some of these are simple and obvious. Some you may not have thought of. See what techniques will work best for you to avoid ministry stagnation, and regain your vigor.
- Read books. Reading a good book is like taking a class. You’re going to learn something. Training your mind in this way will open up new areas of interest and experience. Choose something that is outside your area of knowledge. It doesn’t have to be a spiritual book or a Bible study book. It can be a biography, a history, or even a highly acclaimed novel. Just start reading.
- Go to school. Nearly every industry recommends continuing education. Teachers do it. Engineers take additional classes. Lawyers continue their legal education. Financiers take additional training. Factory workers often take additional training to gain certification with equipment, improve their skills, or expand their usefulness. People in ministry should do the same. Most schools offer some form of self-paced or distance learning program. Take an independent learning class from a seminary or college. Maybe even work on your degree. If you prefer the classroom environment, find a community college close to home and enroll for a random class. It will help you.
- Read magazines. Perusing a magazine will give you expanded knowledge about a particular area of life—whether it’s ministry, current events, or a hobby. Keep your mind sharp by engaging mentally in a quality magazine.
- Write a paper. One of the best ways to learn something is by writing about it. Pick a topic that interests you and start writing a paper. It may feel like going back to high school English class, but maybe that’s a good thing. Do some research, write a paper, and allow that new area of knowledge to improve your ministry.
- Read blogs. There are tons of ways to waste your time reading blogs, but there are a few good ones out there. Subscribe to one or more and keep apace of some good news or thoughts. Better yet, write your own blog. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it or not. The discipline of writing helps to bring clarity and precision to your thoughts.
- Watch documentaries. Mindless TV watching can be just that—mindless. But there are some great ways to learn from TV viewing, including watching documentaries. Some people learn better by watching than by merely reading, and there is a lot that you can learn by watching well-made documentaries. The type of documentaries run the gamut from religious surveys, to historical investigations, to the life of penguins. You won’t run out of things to learn about.
- Talk to people. When was the last time you had a scintillating conversation? To prevent stagnation, keep your mind active by talking to people who make you think. A robust and friendly debate can be one of the best forms of engaging the mind and sharpening your thinking skills. Or, contact a writer, speaker, or figure that you admire and request an interview. Even the process of preparing questions can help open up new mental vistas and hone your mind.