Lately I've been training with navy
seal recruits at the YMCA.
Of course you know that when I say "training with" I really mean
sitting in the close vicinity on a mat or on a bench in the gym. I do 10 sit ups.
They do 100. I do 10 push ups. They do 100.
Seals are no joke.
And their workouts are impressive.
They are training to achieve peak physical fitness.
I was talking with my husband about
what it must be like to go through Navy Seal fitness training. He summed it up
in a word.
And I started to wonder it works the
same for us in ministry.
What do we need to do and be to achieve
levels of peak ministry performance?
I had some thoughts about what a person
needs (commitment, endurance, etc)
and was curious about what the seals
require. The lists match up.
And I like their website. The banner reads:
On Time. On Target. Never Quit.
Maybe we should have the same audacious
tenacity in the church when it comes
to sharing Christ and Kingdom mission
with the world around us?
Necessities for Peak Ministry Performance
- We need a plan. (On Time)
- Like the
seals recommend when they are preparing to train. General training
workouts should be planned organized, gradual, steady, and continual.
They're also consistent, specific, and balanced.
- What general
training do we need to stay in ministry for the long haul? Do we have an
plan organized? A gradual, steady, and continual method to feed our souls
and prepare us for ministry? Do we practice and exercise essential
ministry skills? Are we consistently working on our relational
effectiveness, our public speaking skills, our abilities to manage
volunteers? Are we healthy? We really do need to have a simple plan that
we implement to remain effective and have longevity in ministry.
- We need a commitment. (On
- I watched a
group of about 12 young men sitting outside the YMCA a couple of months
ago. They were being asked to submit to the highest levels of physical
fitness if they wanted to become a Navy Seal. In their training they were
told that they won't be drinking at all. They won't be using drugs. They
won't be cussing. They will be committed to the training plan. They will
be gaining strength. They will be preparing for to pass a rigorous
physical test. This week, there are less than 12 still training, but the
ones who have stuck with it are seeing results.
- As youth
ministers, we have to keep our commitment to Christ in mind. For a Navy
Seal recruit. They're doing sick amounts of sit ups, swimming, running,
stretching, eating healthy, but it's not to be great at any of those
things, it's to prepare for their objective. We may do a lot of
"stuff" in ministry, but we're doing it for a goal so much
greater than any one task. We're doing it because our hearts are becoming
more like Christs heart. We have to stay in the game. To keep running. To
keep offering our lives in surrender. It's a lot easier to say yes to our
commitment to the church when Christ and becoming Christ-like is our
- We need to build endurance.
- Navy Seals
don't quit. And they don't train alone. Early this spring they were
circled up. No drinking. No cussing. They'll plan, commit, and train
together for the long haul. So far, I've never seen them alone.
- If the armed
forces call this the highest standard of living then what standards as
Christians should we be helping each other attain? And who are we helping
get through some of the challenges? Do we let each other be swallowed in
ministry alone? Do you feel alone?
Have a plan.
Steady wins the race.
Throw off things you don't need.
Don't keep doing things alone.
I beg you friends, please don't give up. Don't rely on a drink or on TV show to
make things "feel better". Don't lose yourself to an addiction or to
an obsession. Don't drown yourself in an ice cream container (guilty) or run to
get some retail therapy (also guilty) to produce a little bit of happy. Get the
real thing. Let go. Palms up. Fingers out. Surrendered. Go to Christ who fills
you with what you need and gives purpose to your life. Then call a friend. Not
an occasional "hi how are ya" friend, but a friend who is willing to
be vulnerable with you and who you can be vulnerable around. Get a person who
doesn't get ticked to the point of abandonment. The hard things don't make you
hard when you have someone to remind you of your goal and to remind you that
you are not alone. Let them walk with you. And you stick with that
person. He or she will be your cheerleader and co-laborer right beside you all
the way until the finish line.
Only you can give what you can give.
So be strong and courageous in God's
mighty power and we'll be finishing strong...together.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a HUGE crowd of witnesses to
the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially
the sing that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God
has set before us." Hebrews 12:1 NLT