Leader: do you have these people in your life?

I’m often asked about the theme “longevity in ministry.” Those who inquire want to know my “secret-sauce.”

My answer is always the same: “Surround yourself with really talented people who will have your back.”

Longevity requires teamwork!

In my years of ministry, I’ve worked with incredible people! Most of these people are much more talented and gifted than I could ever dream to be.

Another way to say it… I’ve been surrounded by several “Abishai’s.” You may be thinking, “Huh? Doug, did you not take your meds today?”

Every leader needs an Abishai! Okay, I realize it’s not a very catchy name. It doesn’t flow off the tongue like other names, like Matt or Katie or Kurt or Josh or Jana. But, this real life person (who we read about in the Old Testament) was an important model for the type of people leaders need in their lives. And, perhaps more importantly, a model for who we can be in someone else’s life.

Abishai was a support to King David. I first became aware of him while reading 2 Samuel 21. In the New Living Translation, it reads, “David and his men were in the thick of the battle, David became weak and exhausted…He (Ishbi-benob) had cornered David and was about to kill him. But Abishai (son of Zeruiah) came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine.”

Abashai was willing to do some dirty work, he was defensive for David, and his actions vividly displayed teamwork and loyalty. He was even loyal to the point of being willing to kill the sleeping Saul (see 1 Samuel 26:6-9). I love the phrase, “in the thick of the battle Abishai came to the rescue.”

As a leader, do you have someone who comes to your rescue? Do you have an Abishai in your life?

Another question might be, Who do you rescue? Who looks to you as her/his Abishai?

Every good leader fully understands he/she is “better together.”

Question: What may need to change within your leadership to become more attractive at an Abishai? Share your thoughts here.

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Two great new resources by two great friends

Here’s 2 new resources from two of my favorite people on earth.

My friend, co-founder of downloadyouthministry.com, and Youth Ministry’s #1 blogger Josh Griffin just finished a new series for high school students called Crazytown! It was a 3-week series on guys, girls, relationships and sex. Josh is a great youth worker and I love that he makes his material immediately available right after he teaches it–teaching notes, graphics, etc… If you’re looking for a new guy/girl series you might look into Crazytown:

Week 1: 5 Things Girls Wish Guys Knew
Week 2: 5 Things Guys Wish Girls Knew
Week 3: The “Ask Anything” Relationship Panel… which basically became a sex talk.

Jim Burns has compiled a low-cost graduation gift–and a very popular one (1,200,000+ copies given to graduates by 25,000 churches). It’s simple:

1. It’s Music (20 songs from the top names in Christian music including Lecrae, Red, for KING & COUNTRY,Tobymac, Owl City, Switchfoot).
2. It’s Media (over 1 hour of video with artist, author-speaker, and fellow grad video greetings and advice, grad books, and more)
3. It’s a devotional book: “Addicted to God”.

Question: what are the other resources that you’re using out there? Share your thoughts here.

5 actions I take when I try to do “nothing”

Almost daily I get an email from a ministry leader who is tired and on the verge of burn out. There is so much about “ministry-world” that is exhausting. I understand this reality… firsthand. It’s real and ugly!

Too many leaders don’t even slow down enough to be faithful to God’s call for a Sabbath rest.

When I was a young leader I received great advice from a mentor who urged me to faithfully guard and protect a weekly day of rest. I’m so grateful for that advice and encouragement! Without intentional action, it’s simply too easy for a leader to slip into justifying non-Sabbath actions like, “I’m just going to pop into the office,” or “I’m so far behind, I just need to catch up” or “They need to spend time with me and I don’t think I can say ‘no’.”

I fully understand that the Sabbath doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all experience, but for what it’s worth, here’s how I try to approach my day of rest:

I want to experience as many of the following as possible:

Relaxation. I take it easy. I sleep in. I don’t fill the day with a lot of activities. I try to maintain an attitude of rest throughout the day.

Recreation. I usually feel better and accelerate my rest after some form of exercise. It may be at the gym, but it’s usually a long walk or hike with my wife, Cathy.

Relationships. Any time I choose to spend time with someone on my Sabbath, I make sure it’s a relationship that inspires me, breathes into me, and is rewarding for me. No work, just friendship.

Reading. Throughout the week, much of my reading focuses on speaking or sermon preparation, so on my day of rest I usually choose light and fun reading.

Reflection/Restoration. Reflection describes my extended time with God. I’ll usually reflect on the past week, look through my calendar, and think about what I might have missed that God had laid out for me. A busy week usually doesn’t allow me the time for reflection that I want or need. Restoration describes personal soul-care. It’s my time for worship, prayer, silence, Bible, and journaling.

There is no usual order to these areas… I simply try to experience all these throughout the day.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:11

Question: What about you? What do you normally do on your Sabbath? Share it here. 

[Are you getting Doug’s daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.