Are you feeling rested, refreshed, and ready for the fall ministry season?

Over many conversations, it seems like there is a mixed bag of responses such as:

  • I tried to get a break over the summer but didn’t really get one, and I’m tired.
  • I sense God’s presence, and we are ready!
  • I’m looking forward to the fall, but I have some big problems to face.
  • I’m rested but feeling unclear about our direction for the fall.

How would you respond?

As a leader, it’s important to have trusted confidants to talk to, a few people who are safe, smart, and strong. Advisors you know you can be honest with. At times they are literally a lifeline to you.

It’s good to get benchmarks from other trusted leaders; that helps clarify your perspective but be careful of comparison. You need to be solidly in touch with how you and your ministry are doing and focus there.

The fall season will soon be here, and we all want to see life change and growth. But while your programs are important, they are not the primary driving factor. Instead, God’s presence and your leadership make the difference.

There are many things you will encounter this fall.

Here’s a short list.

  • Problems to solve
  • Volunteers to recruit
  • Vision to cast
  • Resources to raise
  • Guests to care for
  • Conflict to resolve
  • Initiatives to launch

These things require your attention, but don’t get sucked into pouring all your energy there; save some energy for you.

The following 5 “inner readiness indicators” will help you focus on what will truly help you achieve your ministry desires and goals.

5 Inner Readiness Indicators:

1) Anticipation over Uncertainty

We all have areas of uncertainty that we think about, and that’s ok if our anticipation of the future is stronger and more positive than our concern about the unknown.

As a leader, it’s important that you can see the good now and, in the future, no matter how difficult things get.

This allows you to possess authentic anticipation, a sense of looking forward to what’s next, like your ministries, this fall. A leader’s positive vision-focused anticipation of the near future is the beginning of momentum.

You are praying for it, looking for it, anticipating it.

Can you “see” in advance the good that will happen as you and your teams engage the people you serve?

This is the activation of your divine partnership with God.

Anticipating progress toward your vision and life change in people demonstrates your faith that God is with you.

This is not a cousin to “name-it-and-claim-it,” and it doesn’t wipe away difficulties.

It is about trusting God and maintaining a hopeful spirit that mirrors the promise of Scripture.

2) Peace over Anxiety

Anxiety is a subject I write and talk about frequently, primarily because it’s often a topic of honest conversations.

I’m referring to anxiety that is not a clinical, can’t function, debilitating anxiety. It’s what I call (my non-medical term) a “low-grade anxiousness.” On a busy day, you don’t even notice it.

A low-grade anxiousness is when you are quiet and alone with your thoughts and don’t sense a soul-level peace. The remedy begins with slowing down in a regular rhythm to sense God’s presence, power, and peace.

Yes, God is with us when we are on the run, but He ministers to us when we sit quietly with Him.

My new book, Leadership Alone Isn’t Enough: 40 Devotions to Strengthen Your Soul, may be helpful to you.

3) Connected over Distant

Leadership was never intended to be a solo endeavor. Instead, we are designed for community and are responsible for building that community.

How is the team you lead doing?

Do you perceive a strong sense of connectedness among your team, and are you personally connected at a heart level to your team? This is vital to the success of your ministry in the near future.

You can assess connectedness from the experience of closeness, trust, honesty, laughter, and productivity.

This is obviously the opposite of an awareness of distance from your team.

When you are connected at a heart level with your team, you’ll sense a spirit of alignment and moving together in the right direction.

If this is missing…

Here’s where you start.

What one relationship needs your attention this week?

4) Focused and Energized over Distracted

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Your physical condition always intersects with your leadership focus and energy.

Like your physical energy impacts your ability to engage with your family when you get home from work, your physical condition sets the level of your vitality to engage in your leadership fully.

I recently re-injured my right foot. So many miles jogging over many, many years. It’s a major distraction that steals my focus. Pain occupies our thoughts.

It challenges my ability to exercise, which impacts my ability to remain centered. The good news is that it will be temporary. But you get the picture.

What might be distracting you this week or in this season as you lead into the fall?

My illustration is physical, but yours might be very different.

What do you need to tend to remain focused and energized?

5) Organized over scattered

Heading into the fall poised for effective life-changing ministry requires confidence that your personal life and leadership are organized. Scattered, chaotic, and last minute never works well.

I’m usually organized and disciplined, but you’d wonder if you saw my desk at certain times. And I have two offices, so two desks (one at the church and one at home) are sometimes both out of control!

That’s a simple and practical sign that I may need to tighten things up some. I’m not recommending a perfect environment, but clutter doesn’t help you live or lead in an organized way.

Granted, that’s a light illustration, and there are deeper things to be aware of, but you know when you are organized and when you aren’t. Right?

So, are you organized and ready for the fall or scattered?

If you feel scattered. Start by stopping. Stop the crazy by eliminating the things you don’t have to do, and then focus on the critical things the team needs you to do.