Stewarding Your Most Important Resource

Written by Greg Darley on Nov 09, 2021 in Pastoral Helps

Read Time: 3.5 Minutes

As leaders, we love to talk about stewardship. I think it's because we recognize the importance and gravity of what's been loaned to us to achieve our callings and visions. We want to steward our resources like time because they are finite. We want to steward the money people donate to our ministries, showing them the impact it's making. We want to steward our teams well, seeing each team member as the individuals they are. We want to steward our brands and messaging to best connect with our audiences. We know that everything we've been given is not ours and should be viewed in that reality as a stewardship. 

Stewardship means we are responsible for getting the best and most out of what's been entrusted to us. In the parable of the talents, the servant that was entrusted with three talents wasn't expected to turn it into ten talents. He was expected to get the best and most out of what he was entrusted with, which he did by getting a good return of three more. The servant who was given five talents returned an additional five because that is what was available to him.  

If stewardship is about what's been placed into our hands, as a leader, we must consider every resource, tool, and vehicle our responsibility to fulfilling our callings. We don't want to overlook or ignore one or leave to chance it will work out. We want to be diligent and steward everything within our ability for the sake of the vision. 

But for many leaders, there's an overlooked vehicle crucial to their vision we often forget to steward. We are so focused on using our money well, being wise with our time, pouring into our teams, and managing the chaos of leading in the twenty-first century that we ignore the most important vehicle for our callings and vision—us. 

The Stewardship of You

Without you, you cannot achieve your vision. There's a core belief that drives our work with pastors and leaders:

To do all you've been called to do, you need to be the best version of you. And the best version of you is the healthiest version of you. 

You are a vision caster and vision carrier. You set the pace for the organization. You inspire action and provide motivation. You bring creativity and stability. You determine direction and strategy. You bring calm during chaos. You give oversight and insight. You are integral to the vision. What happens to the vision if you are not at your best? What happens to your mission if you are not present? What happens when your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are not great? What happens if you don't steward yourself? The vision and those you are leading will suffer.

A few years ago, I was working with a church to help them expand their vision and giving. Their children's space was a moldy and outdated space in the basement that wasn't inviting nor safe. The leaders of the church agreed it was mission critical to raise enough money to overhaul the space or risk many young families looking elsewhere for a church. I was onsite with the senior leaders one day as we sketched out the strategy and timeline to make the vision a reality. We were discussing some important dates, and I was writing on the whiteboard in the conference room. I turned around to see the team engaged and leaning forward. Well, everyone except the leader in charge of the capital campaign. He had his head down and was asleep. Literally. Asleep. During one of the most mission-critical meetings of the church, and not because I was leading it. But because what was at stake if we weren't successful. I left that day wondering what was going on in his life that he couldn't even stay awake in such an important meeting, much less contribute. 

Consider this: studies show that people who fail to get adequate sleep will make decisions at the same level as someone intoxicated. Other studies show that insufficient sleep causes people to become hyper-emotional, often reading social settings wrong and making impulsive decisions. Leading is already difficult enough to have our brains working against us. Sleep expert Dr. Matthew Walker, says "With few exceptions over the past century, every experiment that has investigated the impact of deficient sleep on the human body has observed an overactive sympathetic nervous system. For as long as the state of insufficient sleep lasts, and for some time thereafter, the body remains stuck in some degree of a fight-or-flight state."⁠1 

Since you are the vehicle to accomplish your vision, you must steward what impacts your ability to fulfill that vision. This is why the Stewardship of YOU focuses on helping leaders improve their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. You owe it to those you lead and love to be the best version of yourself. And the best version of yourself is the healthiest version of yourself. 

A few questions to consider: 

- Do I have a plan for my physical health? 

- What is the state of my mental and emotional health? 

- Do I have all the energy I need to do all I've been called to do?

- What would the healthiest version of me look like? 

A Case Study for Pastors and Church Staff

The past 18 months have been challenging in many ways for many leaders. We're wondering: How are pastors and staff members really doing? 

We have commissioned a study to learn the current reality of the physical, mental, and emotional health of faith leaders, including pastors and staff. 

To better serve pastors, leaders, staff and churches, we want to understand:

  • How many pastors are dealing with mental health issues?
  • How are leaders handling stress?
  • How healthy are our teams?
  • How does physical health impact other areas of life?
  • How much stress are church staff feeling?

Your opinion matters to us. To take the 10-minute survey, click this link: Pastors and Staff Health Survey.

Need help stewarding your resources?

Leading a church or ministry comes with many responsibilities, and the load can often feel overbearing. But you don't have to carry it alone! Please give us a call at 877-494-4655 to learn how we can serve you!

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References:

1 Walker, Mathew Why We Sleep, 167.

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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