Thursday, July 28, 2011

Father Of The Bride-Part 2

Well my baby girl has been married for a wopping 5 days. SInce then I have slept more than 58 hrs and have seen 3 commic book movies. I've eatten a couple of Double Double's at In-N-Out Burger. I've been to Newport Beach, Hunnington Beach, Lagunia Beach and Fullerton. (Home of Leo Fender) And I feel like all the adrenilene that comes with a big event like your last daughter's wedding has come and gone. All I have to say now is I'm proud of the woman of God she is!

Should we have parented her different? I guess we could have trained her to be a little more "Martha Stewart" like. Instead we have this amazing grown daughter who loves the Bible and loves Jesus. She loves to have fun and she has a heart for ministry and to serve her local church. She loves music and her daddy. She's a devoted friend and she adores her husband and I believe he adores her as well!

We are blessed!!! I'm thankful for the God choices she made and will continue to make as well as her commitment to and pursuit of purity!  Next week my blog will be back to normal and my blackout from Facebook and Twitter will be lifted. I'll have 2 grown married daughters that I am so proud of and now with my grandson and 2 Sons-in law the boy/girl count in the Wideman family is now 4 to 3 in favor of the boys! God is good to me and I am one thankful guy!
And yes I have officially run out of single daughters!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Father Of The Bride

It seems like just yesterday the doctor was looking at me and saying for the second time three little words that changed my world forever... "It's a girl!" In fact it wasn't yesterday, it was almost 27 years ago. 27 of the greatest years of my life. And in just two days I'll be walking her down the isle and saying 4 other little words every father of girls dread saying..."her mother and I." I was doing so good, at least I thought I was until today. Tulsa friends who are serving as bride's maids starting coming into town today and the realization of we're not planning a wedding anymore has hit and the truth is we're having a wedding in two days. Over the next few hours I'm sure I'll feel every emotion under the sun. I'm going to try to write some things down and make some sense out of this event and maybe when some of you younger dads wake up and find yourself two days away from your baby's wedding you'll remember some of the things I write here.

Whitney and I were both born in Birmingham. I always thought that made us so much alike. Both of our kids are a real mix of the two of us they are just a different mix. When Whitney was born she looked just like me. People  would always say she looks like her daddy except she's cute.  She was more than cute she was beautiful.  The thing about Whitney is that she is beautiful inside and out. Whitney is the kind of kid that can light up a room with her eyes and her smile. She's always been my bright spot. I love to kid and have fun so does Whitney.  Whitney always has had the ability to make those around her enjoy themselves. She still has that ability. It has been so fun for me to watch her grow up but I think it's been even more fun to see her so happy and excited about getting married.

It's amazing how God makes your kids so different. My girls have the same two parents and have eatten the same food they are both the greatest kids a dad could have but yet they are both gifted differently. I think that was the hardest lesson for me to learn. It's okay for your kids to be different in fact that's God design. As parents you have to learn to celebrate the differences. Everything about them has been different that includes the guys they married and also their weddings. It's sure been fun. I love going over to Yancy and Cory's house and I'm also looking forward to going over to Whitney and Dustin's. When Yancy got married I felt like I should have had more time. But with Whitney I realize it's time. Time for me and Julie to enjoy our big kids like we did our little ones. It's her turn to experience the joys of marriage in God!

more later...

A Leader Is A Learner-Part 3

5.   Use your lunches and dinners wisely. A lunch meeting is a great time to put into others. I love to brainstorm over a meal with people I enjoy. I use he drive time to set the tone or agenda and the drive back to recap and make sure people understand the assignments or plan of action.  A dinner meeting is a great way to connect with new people I want to get to know and learn from. Remember the worst they can say is no. Remember it’s not about the food it’s about learning and brain-picking. I’ve even eaten before I go so I can take advantage of this time for me to learn.
6.   Visit other churches.  I love to tour churches where ever I go and when I do I
take lots of pictures. There are several churches I’ve visited more than once and
 every time I’ve gone I’ve pick up different ideas. I love to visit churches with
multiple locations and see what changes they made when they had a chance
 to redo their children’s space. It’s very eye opening to see what others do
 firsthand.  Get outside your church and take a road trip to visit churches with
 creative and unique children’s ministries and see what you can learn.
 7.  Go to conferences. I love to attend conferences for many more reasons than
 just the sessions. I love to hear and see what has worked for others. I like to
 take others along with me to expose them to bigger thinking. A picture is worth
 a thousand words. When others go to conferences that I did not attend I try to
 identify what did they see and learn and learn through them.
8.   Network, surround yourself with peers you respect. Identify the ministry models available and find out what they are presently thinking now. Just because you heard them once doesn’t mean you know what they are thinking and saying today.  I want to know what any other person who has my position is doing and why. Some time know what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. Always be on the lookout to find others who will discuss with you what they are learning. Seek to understand different thinking than your own.
Be a fly on the wall and listen to others as they discuss and network. A few years ago I had the opportunity to have dinner with Sue Miller and Craig Jutilia. It was a wonderful time of learning and growing for me. As we were discussing our ministries I was so proud of all the other children’s pastors who attend that event that had pulled up a chair and were just listening and learning as well.
9. Study successful people. I’m a huge fan of the TV series The Apprentice. I love to watch others lead and be about to learn from them. I also enjoy reading the life stories about successful business people. Those kinds of books are my favorites. I also love to brainstorm or chat with others who also are fans.
10.   Get a leadership coach or hire a consultant to hold you accountable and to make you learn. A view from another perspective can give you a huge advantage. If you interested in coaching be sure and checkout infuse at
             How can I make all these things a part of my lifestyle?  The best way I know is to get out your calendar and plan. Set appointments and then do them. We all keep our appointments once we make them. Develop good learning habits and repeat the same action until it becomes reflexive or second nature. Here are some of the places and situations that where I like to read and listen:
The treadmill and other exercise equipment, right before bedtime is another get time to read a little. I try to keep a book or two in the restroom at home and at work. Planes, drive time and even while I wait when I get my haircut or at the doctor also make great places to learn. I even make appointments with myself to study and grow on a regular basis. Remember study and learning doesn’t have to be all at once, do it a little at a time. Expect those around you to learn. I ask all my staff to include on their weekly report-”What have you done for    leadership development
this past week? You can’t expect what you don’t model, so why not make an intentional decision to set the pace and become an example of one who is always learning. It’s up to you to stay fresh and current in your leadership skills and in your thinking. A growing leader is a learner!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Leader Is A Learner-Part 2

 2. Listen to teaching. We live in a wonderful time. There are so many teachings available to us from mp3’s, podcasts and CD. A great habit to cause you to learn is to regularly feed on information. I love my iphone because I can keep teachings with me at all times.  (For over 17 years now I have been producing audio leadership teachings for children’s ministers through the children’s ministers’ leadership club.  I make these available free of charge for leaders under 30 for those over 30 they can be purchased through a low annual membership which allows me to give the teaching away to young leaders. For more information go to Another plus about listening to teaching is I find myself re-listening to teachings more than re-reading which seems to help me process and learn the audio information faster.
3.   Ask questions. This is my favorite way to learn. Jesus was the master of teaching and encouraging learning by questions.  To me a growing faith is a questioning faith. I think fear of asking something dumb keeps us from taking advantage of this priceless method of learning. I believe with all my heart there is no such thing as a dumb question; there are dumb answers but no dumb questions if they are sincere out of a quest to learn.
Any time you are with another leader that you value you should take advantage of the opportunity to learn from them. Prepare questions ahead of time also put them in order of importance so if you only have time for one or two you get what you need. I get excited when someone pulls out a list of questions they want to ask me. I have to admit this is not the norm. Most people don’t view question and answer times as serious as I do. It disappoints me when I conduct a Q & A session and no one prepares a list of questions.  Make a phone appointment with people you want to learn from and pick their brain on a subject you need to learn about. Tell what the subject or purpose of the call is when you set it up and always email or fax your questions ahead of time. When you email a question only email one question at a time. Never email more than one question per week.
4.   Develop a relationship with people you esteem. Years ago when I started in ministry, finding other children’s pastors was not an easy task. There weren’t many of us out there, when I heard of another I gave them a call. If I read an article that intrigues me I contact them. I still email and call children’s pastors and introduce myself and try to develop a relationship with those I want to know. When I see a hunger in other children’s pastors it gets my attention and causes me to draw close to them.  Watch out for relationships that don’t sharpen you. I am so thankful for the friendships I have both new and old that God uses to cause me to keep thinking and growing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Leader Is A Learner

After years of watching children’s ministry leaders fail to see their dreams come true, I noticed a common problem. Most workers and leaders in the local church just don’t see the need to continually learn. To me learning is not something I have an option on doing. It is a must. Being a learner must be a part of your everyday lifestyle if you are serious about growing.  When I was in college, I learned the smartest and most intelligent response to any question or situation, it’s “I don’t know!” There’s nothing wrong with not knowing it all. I don’t understand why people think it’s wrong to say I don’t know. The key is to let I don’t know move you to I’ll find out. There is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know how to do something either. In 1990 when I moved to Tulsa my new church was basically the same size as the previous three churches I had worked at. But as we grew in the seventeen years I was there every Sunday when I went to church that was the largest church I had ever been a part of. I didn’t know how to do what I was being asked to do every weekend. This understanding forced me to explore and learn. The intensity of how you pursue exploring and learning is the true sign that sets you apart as a leader. Study makes work approved. One of my favorite scriptures is 2Timothy 2:15   “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Approved work that is a direct result of study causes the workman to have no reason to be ashamed. We all know hard work pays off but smart work is also important. Smart work come from study and learning. When smart work and hard work are combined great things happen. Smart work plus hard work always equals success.  If you are reading this article I know you want to bear fruit and be successful for the Lord. But our actions measure the intensity and passion of that quest. In evaluating my own journey I’d like to give you twelve learning habits I believe you should develop to stay fresh and current as a leader.   1. Develop a love for reading. I’m always on the lookout for a good book! I look for recommendations from people I look up to. I visit local bookstores and cruise the shelves of the business and leadership sections. I like to discuss what I’m reading with people who are also reading that same book. On I’ve listed some books I’ve read as well as those I want to read. I’m also a believer in re-reading a book and making sure I’ve put to use what I’ve already learned before I move on to a new book.  It helps me to set a goal for a set time to complete a book. To meet that timeline I try to keep a book with me at all times. I also buy one or two books ahead so I’ll have something to look forward to reading. It also helps me finish the book I’m currently reading as I anticipate reading the new one.  I’ve also enjoyed blogging. There are some great blogs out there.
I like to see who has linked to my blog and I follow the link and see who else they read and check them out as well. I have discovered some great learners to learn with.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Spirit-Led Teacher- Part 4

The Spirit is a safe guide, one whom can always be trusted. The voice of wisdom and the voice of God is always the same thing. Our helper the Holy Spirit will lead us to all truth and will never disagree with the voice of wisdom or God’s Words! One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:5 & 6 it tells us “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. I am so glad we have a helper to lead us to be the leaders and teachers we need to be. Listen to your guide, your helper is right beside you Listen to Him, Learn from Him, do what He says.  You are not alone in the awesome task of teaching and training children to be fully devoted follows of the Christ not just for now but also forever. Every list of ways to make changes starts with desiring what God is speaking to you. Desire to be led by the Spirit like never before. Model this to those who serve with you. 
One of the best ways to encourage a certain kind of behavior in others is to be an example of that behavior and model it yourselves.  Jesus modeled the Spirit-led life he never ministered the same way to each person, He was led by God’s Spirit and we can be too. It’s good news to know that same Spirit that led Jesus, the same Spirit that empowered him and raised Him from the dead, lives and empowers us today! Thank God for our helper!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Spirit-Led Teacher- Part 3

7. During the lesson feel free to follow the Spirit’s guide. I love Video and other teaching aides but the most important resource you can have in the classroom is a Spirit-led teacher! They know how to follow the Spirit’s leading and end up accomplishing the desired outcome for the cooperate vision.
8. After class don’t be in a hurry to leave. Listen for=-09i8 the spirit to guide your after class time. In my experiences this has been when kids wait for others to leave and open up. Also be sensitive to follow up with parents and other out of class ministry you should do this coming week.
9. After I minister and head to attend a service I rely on the help of the Holy Spirit to lead me to people I need to recruiter to be on my team. 0I refuse to wait on people to show up I’m always asking the Holy Spirit to guide me to people who need to be needed! I’m on a mission from God to connect with those He leads me to. Jesus was out and about when he found the twelve disciples. The Holy Spirit is my number one recruiting tool.
10. Learn to allow the Spirit to help you Identify things that need correcting or improvement on a regular basis. Ask Him to teach you why it needs fixing as well as how. To me the Holy Spirit works in our lives like a spotlight he shines or illuminates things that need to be changed. This is true in the classroom as well as every other area of my life!
 more to come...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Spirit-Led Teacher- Part 2

3. Set an appointment to plan and study your lesson. Start from the beginning asking for the Spirit to guide your plans. Read the curriculum but listen to the Holy Spirit. I treat all curriculum (even stuff I write) like catfish I let the Holy Spirit pick out the meat and I leave the bones! Don’t wait to the last minute to study this is an important step! Never equate flowing with the Spirit to flying by the seat of your paints. I want to have enough time to obey what the Spirit says, some things my helper has led me to have to be ordered or purchased.
4.  Come early and be prepared. I like to set up my props; classroom and teaching tools ahead of time so I have time to pray before the kids start arriving. I like to pray over every chair. Kids are creatures of habit and many times sit in the same area so I call their names and let the Spirit guide me to stand in the gap for their needs and their families.
5.  As the children arrive let the Spirit direct how you spend your time. A command mistake I’ve seen is all the children’s workers talk among themselves rather than allow the Spirit to guide the pre-service time as well as the lesson.
6. Trust your guide. I used to illustrate this in Children’s Church by blindfolding a child and give them verbal instructions that they had to carry out without bumping in to things. It’s impossible to walk by faith not sight in our own strength. Then I would ask another child to come be a guide (just like the Holy Spirit is our guide) and guide the blindfolded child to safety. It’s much easier with a guide to follow the Word of the Lord. I have found practice make perfect not only in playing an instrument or developing a skill but also in trusting our guide!  Don’t beat yourself up if you miss, we serve the God of a second chance!
More to come

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Spirit-Led Teacher

Back in 2008 I wrote an article in K! entitled “Leading with Help.” I've also used that article here on my blog. In that article I talked about how it is not God’s plan for us to do ministry or life alone that is why he has sent us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, He is our guide, He is our helper and He is our comforter! When the pressures and problems of teaching kids and leading others come, you don’t need to try to handle them in your own strength but in the strength and power of the Spirit of the living God! Just because you are doing the “Lord’s work” doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. We all have problems Psalm 34:19 tells us, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” I believe this verse describes us as “getting up people! When we lead with the help of “our helper-the Holy Spirit we are not leading in our own strength but in the strength of the promised power source.
This also works with teaching.

       In that article I talked about a very valuable lesson I learned several years ago about relying on my helper.  One day as I was leaving for work I had an impression in my spirit that I needed to bring my bass guitar with me to church. Rather than be quick to obey I started reasoning with myself and to make a long story short I blew off the leading and went to work. No sooner as I walked in my office the phone rang and it was my Wednesday Night bass player in my pre-youth class informing me that he just got to work and found out he had to work late and asked if I could play bass myself for him. My helper (The Holy Spirit) wanted to help me save time. As I drove back home to get my bass I saw that the more I listened to the voice of the Spirit in small things the easier it was to hear him in major decisions. I also realized it would have better for me to brought my bass and didn’t need it than to blow off the voice of the Spirit. I’ve also learned through the years to never disobey a check in my Spirit. If I sense a strong leading to not go somewhere or to not do something or to pass on a worker even if I can’t explain it I trust my helper.  Not only can the Holy Spirit help you in leading the children’s ministry we must help our teachers and volunteer workforce learn to live the Spirit-led life in and out of the classroom.
If we want children to be led by the Spirit we must model it! So here are ten practical ways we can model and encourage ourselves and others to be led by the Spirit in children’s ministry

1.  Start early in the week inviting your “Helper” to help you. Get in the habit of reading next week’s lesson when you get home from church and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you this next week to make it real to the children. Go ahead and highlight key areas that jump out at you.
2. Pray for the children as the Spirit guides you! Call their name and pray what flows from your heart for each child and their family. Repeat this step throughout the week.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Leaders Are Problem Solvers-Part 3

They seek the advice of others.
I remember trying to put a swing set together for my daughters. The instructions made no sense to me, so I found someone who’d put a swing set together for his kids. He told me he’d made a complete mess of the entire thing. That’s the guy I asked to come on over. As he described what he’d done I did the opposite—and the project came together.
Effective problem-solvers don’t necessarily look for advice from the smartest person they know. They look for someone who’s tackled the problem. Even if that person failed, you can learn something. And notice that good problem-solvers aren’t afraid to ask for advice. They’re open to new information. They’re willing to admit that they don’t have all the answers. Will you admit it when you don’t know—and ask for advice?
They take reasonable risks.
There are risks involved in everything. But there are risks and there are risks. Not every risk is worth taking. Reasonable risks include things that don’t jeopardize your health, or the lives of people you serve. They don’t create total chaos and confusion in your ministry. They don’t have people questioning your salvation or your sanity.
But they do include trying new things, stretching yourself.
And if God clearly tells you to do something, that’s no risk at all—no matter how strange it might sound. When God told Noah to take up boat building, it had to sound like the craziest thing anyone had ever heard…until the rain started to fall. You’ll never step out and be the leader God wants you to be without taking risks. Are you willing?
They pray.
I know people who frantically try one solution after another when they hit a problem, and when all else fails, they pray. That’s backwards. Listen, if you’re leading in the church be a person of prayer. If you lead by your sight alone, you’re headed for a cliff—and you’re leading everyone right along with you. Pray about decisions and challenges first. Allow God to guide and use you. That’s what he wants…and that’s who you’re working for.  Now and then, when I’ve gone to the Lord about a problem, he’s clearly shown me what to do. So I did exactly what he said and the problem was solved. “Thus sayeth the Lord” always works.
But many times the Lord doesn’t provide me with a clear answer. Maybe I’m not listening, but there are times I ask for guidance and hear…nothing. And the problem is still sitting there. Personally, I think the Lord doesn’t care how you solve some problems, so long as your solution honors him. He leaves it up to you. He just wants you to solve the problem. He’s given you permission. When problems present themselves, do you pray? And do you listen for God’s answer?  
The most important thing you can do with a problem is also the one thing that may frighten you most: confront it head on. Don’t ignore it. Don’t hope it’ll go away or get better on its own. You’re a leader, and that means you’re a problem solver. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Leaders Are Problem Solvers-Part 2

Like it or not, you’ve got to be a problem-solver.
People who serve under you already see you as a problem-solver—and they need you to take on that role.
For most of us in Children’s Ministry, problem-solving isn’t our strongest skill. We’re wired to be care-takers. We love feeding the sheep God’s entrusted to us. We’re natural born teachers. We’re not so good at doing the administrative analysis, measuring, and evaluation that let us solve problems before they develop into full-blown crises. Does the notion that people expect you to solve problems make you uncomfortable? If so, you’re in good company. There’s a long list of outstanding leaders in Scripture who failed as problem-solvers.
 When people told Moses they needed water, Moses smacked a rock with a stick—which disappointed God. Daniel fell short now and then in the problem-solving department. Peter wanted to do something to help out Jesus in the Garden, so he drew a sword and lopped off someone’s ear.
Being a problem-solver doesn’t mean you always have the right answer at your fingertips. Or that you always make the right decision or do the right thing. But it does mean you’re willing to make decisions and face problems head on.
Do you think of yourself as a problem solver? I’ve watched excellent problem-solvers, and here are some characteristics they display when it’s time to toss rocks at their Goliaths:
They’re willing to give it a try.
If you walk past a fence that needs to be painted long enough, you’ll quit noticing the paint is peeling. You get used to the problem. And when you get used to problems, they quit feeling like problems. You no longer feel an urgency to roll up your sleeves and try to fix things. Leaders identify challenges as challenges—and they act. They think of themselves as problem-solvers. They’re proactive and intentional in making things better. What’s your approach when a challenge finds you? Do you turn and face it? Or do you ignore it, hoping it’ll go away?
They explore options.
A friend of mine calls now and then, and he always says, “I think God’s calling me to leave this church and go to another church.” Then he lists all the challenges he’s currently facing. So I ask, “Why don’t you get out of there? If God’s calling you somewhere else, quit so you’re ready to move.” That’s when he backpedals. “Well, then I’d just be facing a whole new set of problems. At least here I know what they are.”
He’s right: he will find new challenges wherever he goes—that’s life. But if God’s calling him to move, God will help him deal with the challenges he runs into down the road. My friend just isn’t willing to explore new opportunities. He’s stuck. We get stuck too. Maybe it’s fear, or apathy, or just being worn out, but sometimes when our first try to solve a problem doesn’t work we surrender.
But the first solution often isn’t the best solution. Best solutions are often the third…or fourth…or twentieth idea that comes to mind when you’re figuring out how to get through or around a challenge. How quickly do you stop at your first solution? How well do you explore options?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Leaders Are Problem Solvers

Want to test the measure of a leader? Throw a problem at him or her.
Most people, when they come face to face with a problem, immediately look for someone else to solve it. We all start out that way. As children, when problems came our way, we called for our mamas. And that was completely appropriate for a child—but not for a leader. It’s a follower mentality. Leaders respond differently when facing a problem. They act to solve it. Those sorts of people are like Daniel.
Here’s how Daniel’s described in Daniel 5:12: “This man Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems.”
Daniel had a reputation for being able to solve problems. It’s a reputation you want to earn, too. But before we talk about how to solve problems, there are a couple things you need to know about problems…
Not all problems are bad.
I often hear ministry workers wish they lived problem-free lives. Well, there are people who have a problem-free existence…but they’re all dead. The only people I know who don’t deal with challenges like stress, budgets, and relationships are stretched out in the cemetery. Notice I said “challenges” rather than “problems.” That’s no accident. I’ve found that some things I considered problems turned out to be tremendous blessings. They’re the very situations that helped me grow and changed my life for the better. Whatever problems you face in ministry, decide to view them not just as problems but also as challenges God wants to help guide you through. That attitude keeps you teachable—and invites God’s guidance.
You may look back at the problems in your life right now and thank God for them because they caused you to grow. And here’s why…
Some problems prepare you to handle more.
Problems season you, and prepare you for more responsibility.
When David walked out to face Goliath it wasn’t the first time he’d fought a larger enemy. He’d already bested a lion and a bear. Goliath might be carrying a spear, but David knew he could place a rock in just the right place to drop the giant. David had faced down big, hairy problems before.
Think about your life. How many of the problems you’ve faced were just training? Warm-ups that prepared you for a larger problem that followed?
Some problems are tremendous learning opportunities.
I remember the day we decided to start a puppet ministry at my church. I’d never held a puppet before, but my roommate was on a college puppet team. My friend walked us through what we needed to know. And I took really good notes, because the next week I was going to be in charge. From Absolute Ignoramus to Mister Director in one week—quite a transformation. But that ministry was successful. If I’d seen my lack of experience as a problem, it would have stopped me cold. Instead, I saw it as a challenge, and in the process of overcoming it I learned a new skill.
What current challenges are teaching you something new? 

Friday, July 01, 2011

Keeping Leaders Spiritually Healthy- Part 3

The forth gage for spiritual health is the excellence gage. Excellence gage how is that spiritual. Everything God does he does with excellence. If you want to do something in a way that will please God do what ever you do with excellence. Don’t settle with aiming at the best, when you can aim at the best there is! God tells us in Philippians. 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable --if anything is excellent or praiseworthy --think about such things. When you are pressuring excellence you’ll be spiritually healthy and you’ll also be setting yourself for promotion.

The last gage I want to encourage you to check is love. The bible has a lot to say about love in fact there are over 680 verses. 1 Peter 4:8 says Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Love will also move you toward action. John 3:6 tells us God loved the world so much that He gave His son. 1Corinthians 16:14 tells us to do everything in love. Love will always lead you in the direction God wants you to go. Love is something that God’s people are known for. You can’t help but stay spiritually health when love runs supreme. Love will make you a better leader a better mom or dad a better boss a better employee. It only takes one overlooked gauge to cause a catastrophe in your life and leadership. If you are serious about being spiritually healthy you must get in the habit of not just checking these gages but also feeding your spirit.

Ministry looks a whole lot like work, in fact it is work, yes there’s a spiritual dynamic but just like anything else when you expend something you have to refill it. A smart leader knows that ministry works in the same way as a checkbook works. Mark deposits first then write checks from your overflow. So here are five ways you can keep these gages on full.
1.    Make an appointment each day to build your faith my having time in the word. Set the  time for that appointment the day before, it doesn’t have to be the same time every day you just need to treat it like it’s special because it is. Don’t spend all your time studying the bible to teach you have to feed your spirit daily just like you have to feed your body.
2.    Go to church. I should have to tell this to people in ministry but you need to worship and take in from your pastor.
3.    Start every meeting with God stories. God stories are just reports or testimonies about what God is doing in your ministry. It keeps leaders focused on the main thing being the main thing. If you have no God stories then things are not very healthy.
4.    Use the pre-service prayer time as a time to do a devotion together or to go through a book as a team. Don’t just read leadership books find books that challenge you and those who serve with you
5.    Make time for prayer. Things happen when you pray. Set aside the time you spend in your car to prayer, put down the cell phone and pray like it matters. Pray together with your family and also those you lead. I’ve found when you hem your life with prayer things are a lot less likely to unravel.

What are your gages telling you about your spiritual health. Once you identify what you need then add feet to your plan to fix it!