To the Steward Leader—are you a good steward of yourself?
I have been working with nonprofit ministries
for 35 years. In the past 4-5 years I have done more soul searching and
self-examination than the previous 30 years combined. I guess we get that way as
we get older. But in addition to age I had to ask myself: Am I a good
steward of myself?
How do we steward ourselves as leaders? Are we being as good a steward of ourselves as we tell all our co-workers and donors to be? Here are a few ideas and issues I have faced during my journey. I offer them for your consideration, and they are not in any priority. I am trusting you with my self-examination, not for your agreement, but maybe for your self-awareness.
1. Physical Health
traveling over 2 million flying miles in 22 years, not including the
international flights back in my Continental Singers days, I can honestly say
that flying has lost its glamour for me. (Stronger words would not be
appropriate for this blog.) It is a pain, I do not like it, and I do not want to
do it anymore. I remember when I started flying when I began my consulting
firm. I was getting upgraded, I was in the flying clubs, and it was cool. I
remember seeing guys on airplanes that were older (the age I am now) and were
burned out, anxious, and frustrated with everything that went wrong while
flying. I thought, they should quit flying if it is that bad.
Well, it got that bad for me. How about you? Are you traveling too much? Are you seeing signs of bad health? Are you eating right when you travel? (Very hard to do.) Are you a good steward of your temple?
2. Mental Health
OK, here we go. After 22 years of sleeping alone in hotel
rooms, rental cars, and meals alone, I became lonely and lost. My mental health
deteriorated into dealing with depression and anger.
How about you? Depression is one of the most prevalent issues facing people/leaders today. Have you ignored the warning signs? Have you thought, "That could never happen to me?" As a steward, you can be honest with yourself and ask the tough questions. Having a problem with anger and depression will not end your ministry, but ignoring it might.
3. Spiritual Formation Pulse
Even though I was involved in ministry every day, I was no
longer close to God. I did not know him like I used to. And Satan was attacking
me on every front. God led me to Soulformation, and now I am on a journey of
drawing close to God through spiritual formation. I am amazed how God has
revealed to me how abiding in Him is more important than achieving
What about you? Are you still close to God? Are you finding your relationship with him vibrant and growing? Or is that just what you preach or teach. Check your spiritual formation pulse. Know how you are stewarding your spiritual heart.
4. Leadership Pulse
pulse was barely beating. I felt lost as a leader. I had nothing left to give.
And my thoughts, consulting, and teaching lost its energy and focus. Right now I
cannot read a leadership book or listen to a leadership speaker. I am more
concerned with becoming a better follower. I was nearly a leadership casualty,
but am hanging in there by a thread.
I heard that in a current 10-year period, 70% of Boomer leaders will leave their ministry. Are you one of those? Is your leadership pulse beating? Or are you just hanging in there.
5. Follower Pulse
My Follower Pulse needed CPR and electric shock treatment as
there was nothing there. I could not listen or follow anyone. I stepped away
from all conferences and teaching opportunities. And my local church did
not fill up my gas tank.
What about you? Are you still a good follower? Can you still follow and learn? Can you take something that has been shared with you and apply to your life?
6. Pride Meter
Here’s the painful one. As a steward of myself, and as bad as I felt about
myself, I had to look at my Pride Meter. A great friend of mine, Leon N, told
me: "John, you have a passion to help people and ministries, but when you
think you are the ONLY consultant who can help people and ministries, you meter
goes from PASSION TO PRIDE!" His words struck my heart. I thought way too
highly of myself, my knowledge, and my abilities. I was convicted of a prideful
heart and some wrong thinking about what scripture says about where my talents
and success comes from.
What about you? Pride is that one thing that we want to control, and yet we need confidence as a steward leader to be in our leadership positions. A steward leader must be aware of their pride meter. Because even if you do not, others are measuring your pride!
7. Steward Leader Meter
So I have shared my heart and soul with you. Why?
What will it accomplish? I guess this blog is a part of my journey, not
necessarily yours. But maybe, just maybe, one of these points will stir
your spirit. Maybe you will hear that still small voice, (that you haven’t heard
in a few years) that says, "Listen to me. I want you, not all that you do and
accomplish, but you."
Check your Steward Leader Meter and see if you are "red lining" it. And then check to see if your other measurements are red lining, like mine were. If so, then STOP, and do a Steward Leader Meter Reading! See what all of your personal measurements are saying.
A steward is managing something on behalf of the owner. Who is your owner, and how are you managing yourself on his behalf? How are you stewarding yourself? These are tough questions, but they need answering. I wish you the best with your answers. I have plenty of work to do with mine.
Have a great summer!