5 Reasons Church Leaders Need to Unplug This Week (& 6 Ways to Do It!)
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What if this week you took the “unplug challenge” and invested an hour every day to focus on the important, not the urgent? What if rather than just letting your week happen to you … you pushed back and devoted an uninterrupted hour to your ministry each day? As I’ve met leaders who are making a huge impact in this world, one thing that sets them apart is they regularly set aside time when they are aren’t responding to external stimulus. Here are some reasons I think it’s vitally important for you to unplug this week:
- Another Season of Ministry is Coming // Ministry is a marathon not a sprint. Finding the pacing within the normal flow of ministry to retreat and reflect is essential for a long-term approach to ministry. There isn’t a “quieter time” coming … stop looking around the corner for that. You need to create that space in your normal rhythms.
- You Haven’t Read Enough // The world around you is changing, shifting and growing. Books are still an amazingly cheap way to get coaching from leaders and thinkers who can take your leadership to a new level. Reading needs to be on your “must do” list as a leader. Are you being exposed to ideas that stretch your leadership and thinking or just reinforcing your presumptions? Here are the books on my reading list right now:
- You Need to Take a Nap // “Take time off” is on the same list as “don’t kill people”. Most church leaders I know are running from one thing to the next. I struggle like everyone to find healthy rhythms of work and rest. I’ve been challenged by Ruth Haley Barton on this front … read this post: Are You Dangerously Tired? Exploring the Symptoms and Sources of Spiritual Exhaustion in Ministry.
- Complexity Demands Wisdom // Leading a church is complex by definition. We are balancing a number of competing tensions. That sort of complexity requires wisdom to navigate … there is no microwave oven for wisdom. It takes quiet and slowing down to arrive at it.
- Time is Short // We’ve all been given a finite amount of time to reach the world. The mission is too important for us to be distracted by the urgent.
6 Tools & Tips for Finding the Time to Unplug This Week:
- Make the Internet Inaccessible // Just set how long you want to block the internet and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access the net … even if you restart your computer or delete the application. [Mac] [PC]
- Curb Your Social Media Time // Earlier this summer I met someone with one of the most responsive social media presences … with tens of thousands of followers. He does it all on only 30 minutes of social media time every day. Be honest: Do you really need to check in with that latest BuzzFeed list on Facebook? Use a tool like Anti-Social to recover that time.
- Get Up Earlier // I love early mornings. It feels like free time before the world is up. There is an hour there for you to unplug … trust me. Leo Babauta’s article on The Most Successful Techniques for Rising Early might be helpful.
- Stop Watching TV // Your mom was right, watching too much TV turns your head to mush. The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day. I know you don’t watch that much … but you probably watch some. What if you watched none this week?
- Say No to Something // What is someone asking you to do this week that you can say no to, which would give you the time to unplug?
- Stop Reading This Post // Really … go unplug already.
Thanks for this article Rich. It’s the little kick I needed to begin the gradual shift to waking earlier and being more productive. I’ve begun cutting out more tv and simply listening to music at night, so now it’s time to get to bed earlier.
Great stuff … I know if I watch TV at night I am up so much later … and then it’s hard to get going in the morning … it’s a viscous cycle! 😉
Thanks for dropping by.