Preparing for Your Right Now Moment
Growing up I was highly involved in Boy Scouts. Truth be told, I am an Eagle Scout. The Scout’s motto is “be prepared” and while it works quite well for them, I think that it is something that we as church leaders should be adopting as well. Earlier this week I wrote about the entitlement mentality that pastors sometimes get caught up in. While that post is good for identifying the issue, it really doesn’t talk much about avoiding the development of that mentality. Today I want to touch briefly on that.
Growing up I was (and still am) a huge Washington Redskin fan. Some people would place me in that obnoxious fan category, I just don’t understand how you can not be passionate about this team. One of my favorite players is Darrell Green. Darrell was known as the fastest man in the NFL for years, catching Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, and many others from behind time after time. Darrell is a class act, has a great youth foundation and played until he was 42… and the dude was fast up until the end. One of the highlights of watching his career was seeing him run back a punt return against the Chicago Bears in the 1987 playoffs:
I share that for two reasons… first, I need to celebrate the glory days of the Redskins because we don’t see that much these days. Secondly, I love what Green says: “That was my right now moment, and I was very fortunate that I had developed these habits as a young man, and I was ready for my right now moment.”
We all have right now moments. Kevin Myers, Senior Pastor at the church I worked with in Atlanta used to call these “2 to 4 second windows” that our lives hinge upon. Those instances where you have a limited amount of time to make the right decision… where you instinctively fall back upon your training.
Church leaders are faced with these right now moments on a near daily basis, and unless we are intentional about our training and preparation we will fail miserably. So how does this happen? From my experience there are three things that we need to be working through on a consistent basis in order to prepare ourselves for that right now moment:
We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have areas in which we are most susceptible to a fall. I know that I have the tendency to think that God needs me to fulfill his plan for the world and that I have everything figured out. I find that I often need to spend time in the end of Job, from chapter 38 on to be reminded that our God allows me (not needs) to be a part of his plan.
Know your God
I used to tell my students that friendships that do not involve regular communication are not friendships. In the same way our relationship with God is dependent upon us to be in communication with him. The irony of ministry life is that in our busyness and our efforts to do the work of God that we can easily forsake our relationship with God. The disciplines, or habits, that we put into place and are working on a consistent basis will protect us in the long run.
Check your gauges
The pastor in me really wanted to come up with a third “know”, but I couldn’t find one that I didn’t have to force. The last one is simple, just like your car dashboard has gauges allowing you to check the status of your engine, you need to be constantly checking the gauges of your heart. How is your temper? How is your stress level? How about your thought life? Keeping a close watch on what is going on in your heart and mind is crucial to being able to lead from a place of health. There are times in all of our lives when we notice our gauges are redlining… if that is the case, it is time to get some help from a counselor and friends.
I know that this is nothing earth shaking, in fact none of it is original. But this is the stuff that we need to constantly be in the habit of doing in order to prepare us for the two to four second windows that our ministries, and our lives, hinge upon.
How do YOU ensure that you are ready for your right now moment?