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September 2, 2017

5 Tips for Dealing with Stress in Ministry

By Dustin Neeley

A lot of us are consumed with stress and anxiety in our daily lives. God did not create us to live like that. In 1 Peter 5:7, God calls us to cast our anxieties on Him because He cares for us. Stress was never meant to control our lives. It doesn’t have to anymore. Here are five helpful tips when dealing with stress in ministry.

1. We need to live our Bible and put the gospel to work.

God reminds us throughout the Bible that we are not meant to worry, to stress, or to be anxious. Scripture tells us that God is in control. If we live in this truth daily, our burdens are eased and our anxieties cease. God, who created the world, is in control of our lives. We don’t have to hold such a tight grip of control on our ministries or our relationships.

Putting the gospel to work means believing what God says to be true. If we identify as children of God, and not as a church planter or pastor, our identity does not waver with the success or failure of our actions. When the truest thing about us is who we are in Christ, we take ourselves off of a pedestal and put Jesus on His throne.

2. Listen to your body.

It is crucial to listen to our bodies. When we are feeling tired or drained, we need to recognize that we need rest. So often we pile things on our plate until we collapse of fatigue or become so overwhelmed that we can’t handle our duties. Listen to your body. Know when you’ve taken on more than you can handle, and delegate what you can or ask for help.

3. Listen to your wife and kids.

Are your spouse or children constantly remarking that you’re working all the time? Or perhaps they are saying that you’re on your phone a lot? These comments can be easy to write off, but it’s important to hear them for what they are. These subtle reminders could be God trying to speak through them. Listen to them.

4. Learn the size of your plate.

Some people have big plates. These are high capacity people that are always doing more, always involved in something, always at something. Some people have small plates. They have a lower capacity and may not be able to do as many things at once as a person with a bigger plate. People have different limitations and different plate sizes. We need to know ours and live off of it.

5. Take a break from working in your church to work on your church.

Take a step back and evaluate everything that you’re doing and everything you’re involved in. Make a list of things that you must keep doing, think about what you can consider giving up, and make a list of things you can stop doing. Cutting things out of your life will greatly decrease your stress by removing some of your involvement. Think about things that you can delegate to people and positions around you. Loosen your control and allow others to step up and take over some of the things you no longer need to be in charge of. If someone can do something 80 percent as well as you can, it’s a good rule of thumb to delegate to them to decrease your stress.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dustin Neeley

Dustin Neeley (@dustinneeley) has been in full-time, vocational ministry for nearly 20 years and has been involved in nearly every ministry capacity imaginable. His writing has been featured on well-known websites such as The Gospel Coalition, The Resurgence, Boundless Magazine and Churchleaders.com and his popular church planting video series garnered more than 235,000 views on YouTube and is now featured on LifeWay’s Ministry Grid church training program. In 2005, God called Dustin to be the lead and founding pastor Crossing Church in Louisville, KY. In that decade of faithful service, the church grew to be in the top 11% sized churches in the Southern Baptist Convention and equipped and launched 11 church planters in cities like New Orleans, Cleveland and Salt Lake City, commissioned 6 missionaries and sent out more than 25 senior pastors and staff persons. In early 2015, Jesus called, the Neeley's answered and relocated to the Franklin area to become the Church Planter in Residence at Immanuel Church. Since then, he and his family have loved seeing God miraculously bring Refuge together and are thankful to have had a successful launch in August of 2016.

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