It’s possible to be so busy in ministry that you don’t receive ministry.

That’s a great risk for any leader in the local church.

It’s good to give, but if your tank becomes empty, you have nothing left to pour out. And it’s in the Christmas season, that this reality is highly prevalent.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, right? Then why so much stress? That’s an old question with lots of answers, but few solutions.

My “kids” are in their late twenties now and they still love Christmas like when they were little. I love Christmas too. We enjoy our family traditions and opening gifts around the tree on Christmas morning. But I would also admit that it’s possible to miss the greatest gift.

As leaders, we invest incredible amounts of effort and energy so that others may receive the greatest gift. This investment can cause the spirit of Christmas to become more professional than personal.

Don’t miss the greatest gift:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17

Christmas is personal. 

3 Reflections for Leaders on the Run:

1) Love is always personal.

When I think about my family and how much I love them, it keeps me grounded about how love must be translated in my life and in the local church. God’s love is personal, individual, and His Son made it sacrificial.

God reaches for the one – one at a time. It’s personal. We want to reach the many, and the passion behind that is good, but if we’re not careful, we can lose the personal touch and then we’ve lost God’s heart.

In order for you to communicate God’s love in an authentic way, you have to be deeply in touch with it yourself on an intimate level. That means you can’t just understand love theologically, you have to experience it personally.

What does that look like for you?

2) Love fuels and refreshes your soul.

Love cannot be experienced at high speed. Slowing down is required. A few years ago, God spoke plainly to me in a prayer time. I was in a mode of rushing, praying quick and blasting off for my day. He said, “It’s OK if you leave now, but if you want more of me, I cannot be rushed.”

I’ve thought a lot about that moment and that truth translates to every close friendship and family relationship as well. Love simply can’t be rushed, and when you take the time love requires, your soul is deeply fueled and refreshed. Peace increases and that low-grade anxiety diminishes.

I get why we as leaders run fast, there is so much to do. But I encourage you to slow down, at least long enough to get your tank refueled.

3) Love teaches you how to receive.

The majority of leaders I know are good at giving but not at receiving. At risk of sounding contradictory, it’s difficult to give from the heart unless you can receive freely at a heart level.

For most kids, they quickly learn to receive love from their parents. Then as they mature, they can mirror that experience by giving love.

As Christians, we first must receive God’s love, before we truly have the ability to give God’s love to others.

I understand why you might have your guard up, but you must let it down to allow love in.


In this Christmas season, soak in the love that others give you. It’s part of God’s greatest gift, it’s the human expression of God’s love.