Friday, January 21, 2011

25 Life Lessons from 50 Years in Ministry

Each January our staff gets away for 2 days to refuel, bond, and focus for the upcoming year.  This year we were blessed to have Chuck Swindoll come to our staff prayer time and share some "life lessons" he has learned in his 50 years of ministry.  It really was a sweet and encouraging time.

Here is what I got from it... (Things in parenthesis are a little commentary from me!)
1... Now isn't forever and today might be the start of the change. Let people grow, don't trap people in the box of who they are now.
2... Talk things out and write them out!  It helps in processing this life. (I clearly have this one down ;) )
3... Tell people how you feel about them NOW!
4... Be faithful!  You have no idea what people notice, what they take away from what they see in you!
5... He has seldom felt sorry for things he didn't say and often thankful for what didn't come out!!! (Filters are your friends!)
6... Being REAL is a lot better than trying to look spiritual.  Learn who are are... Accept who you are... Be free to be and to become who you are!
7... Learn to say... I was wrong! I am sorry!  Please forgive me! and I love you!
8... You shouldn't try to talk people into or out of a big decision.  Let the struggle happen! Let God work!
9...  “Always hold things loosely, even your children.  If you don’t it will hurt when God pries them from your fingers.”  Corrie ten Boom told him this one Sunday when she was at his church.
10... We are not that big of a deal!  Stay humble.  We’re just a bunch of depraved sinners that God has selected and chosen to use.
11...  Don’t settle for a job when you have the privilege of pursuing a calling.
12...When you fit... things flow!  Don't try to force yourself into something that really doesn't fit you.
13... Be intentionally and passionately crazy about your spouse.  Do the work!
14... It's hardest and most worth it at home.
15... Days of maintenance far outnumber days of magnificence.
16... Some people are not going to change no matter what.  Love them, walk with them, pray for them, but it's not your job to change them.
17... Take your day off!  What good are you to the ministry if you burn out?
18... Perception overshadows reality! Truth of your life will win out in the end.
19... Often the hard thing is the right thing!
20... Stop saying NEVER and ALWAYS!
21... Some things aren't worth the sweat.  Lighten up!
22... You can't beat KINDNESS and you can't beat FUN!  Both are essential.
23... LAUGH loudly!  Especially at yourself!
24... Go deeper not faster!

All of us were really blessed by the time and all that he shared.  One of the guys made an interesting observation when we were all discussing what we heard and liked and took away.  He said that none of them were groundbreaking because of how we have been taught in our time on staff and I really agree with him.  I feel like our leadership has done such a great job of keeping us grounded in what this is all about and that God has given us so many opportunities to learn, grown and be stretched.  What a gift!

I know I have a LOT more to learn in applying all the truth I've been taught and I am thankful for this wise man who was willing to come and share with us some of what he has learned.  And I am so thankful for all the wise men and women that I get to work with every day on staff!  Man I have been stretched and grown in amazing ways in my 8 1/2 years on this team!

(The picture at the top is of the sunrise on the retreat!)

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